Friday, April 29, 2016

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Statoil Helicopter Crashes Off Norway Coast - 11 Of 13 On Board Reported Dead!

-- A helicopter has crashed near Fjell . At least 15 passengers feared dead ~NRK
Twitter: Yannis Koutsomitis

April 29, 2016 - NORWAY - Eleven people have been killed in a helicopter crashed off the west coast of Norway near Bergen, AFP reports. A Briton, an Italian and 11 Norwegians were amongst those on board the helicopter, which was totally destroyed on impact.

“We have received many, many reports of a helicopter crash just west of Turoy near Bergen. Many people have reported that they heard an explosion and saw smoke. We can confirm that a helicopter has crashed and that there are people in the sea,” police told the Verdens Gang newspaper.

Norwegian police have told the broadcaster NTB that there were 13 people on board the helicopter when it came down. The area has frequent helicopter traffic servicing offshore oil platforms in the North Sea off the Norwegian coast. The Rescue Coordination Center has yet to receive any information about any survivors.



According to the Bergens Tidende newspaper, police say they have found dead bodies, as the rescue attempts continue. The dead bodies were found on land, though the exact number of those who perished has not been announced.

“We do not know the sequence of events or what the helicopter to come down,” Bjorn Jarle, from the Rescue Coordination Center for South Norway.

Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway.

Reports say there was no problem with the weather as conditions were good for flying, according to local meteorologists.

The helicopter that came down is believed to be a Eurocopter and was owned by the CHC Helicopter Group, which specializes in providing offshore transportation to the oil-and-gas industry.







Norwegian oil company Statoil has confirmed to the Aftonbladet publication that the crashed helicopter came from the Gullfaks B platform - a North Sea oil field operated by Statoil.

Ivar Moen, from the Rescue Coordination Center for South Norway, told Verdens Gang that diving equipment is being brought to help with the rescue operation.

“There are a lot of people who can help in the area, but the Rescue Coordination Center has requested vessels with the capacity to dive. The Norwegian Stealth Frigate, the Otto Sverdrup will help with the rescue attempts and is heading to the area,” he said.

Statoil is setting up an emergency center in Bergen, while it confirmed that 11 of those on board worked for the oil firm.

The oil giant has also said that all helicopters of a similar type to the one that crashed have been temporarily taken out of service.

- RT.






 

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - 2 More Oarfish Appear Off Taiwan During Seismic Activity?! [PHOTOS]

Fishermen were stunned after discovering the fish. CEN

April 29, 2016 - TAIWAN - Two rare earthquake fish were thrown out of the water after a ' mud volcano ' erupted off the coast of Taiwan.

The volcano erupted early Thursday morning in the city of Pingtung following a 5.6-magnitude earthquake.


Fishermen were delighted to find the oarfish, also known as earthquake fish, both measuring 4.4 metres - twice as long as beanpole footballer Peter Crouch - and weighing a whopping seven stone.

Four eruption mouths were spotted in a paddy field in Wandan Town and the hot slurry almost destroyed the whole field.

Local villagers dug ditches immediately to drain the slurry away and doubted that the eruption may have a connection with the early earthquake that hit the east coast.


The huge fish both measure more than 4 metres in length. CEN

The fish weighed a whopping seven stone. CEN


The 5.6-magnitude earthquake occurred in the waters off Hualien County, Taiwan at around 11:17pm and in the following several hours, around 30 aftershocks between 3.5 and 5.6 magnitude were spotted.

The latest earthquake monitored at 4 magnitude occurred around 11am on Thursday. There have been no casualties reported.

Experts say that the aftershocks may last two to three days.

"We predict that the mud volcano eruption may last for two to three days. And it may be accompanied by some magnitude 5 earthquakes," said Kuo Kaiwen, director of Taiwan Earthquake Monitoring and Report Center.



- Mirror.








GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Seismic Activity Increases At Turrialba And Irazu Volcanoes In Costa Rica - 75 EARTHQUAKES In Less Than 12 HOURS!


April 29, 2016 - COSTA RICA - The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI in Spanish) reported today that the seismic activity at the volcano Turrialba increased in the last hours.

The Observatory recalled that last Saturday, nearly 75 earthquakes took place in less than 12 hours between the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes.

The National Seismological Network said that so far is been observed the normal steam and gases plume rising from the volcano.


The vapor plume started forming above Turrialba’s crater in the early hours of Thursday, April 28.OVSICORI

After more than a century inactive, seismic activity was recorded at the Turrialba volcano on January 5, 2010.

Turrialba is the second highest volcano in the country after the Irazu is located in the district of Santa Cruz, in the canton of Turrialba, in the province of Cartago.




- Prensa Latina.





 

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Wettest April In 15 Years As Colder Than Normal Temperatures Hit The Netherlands!

Wikimedia Commons/Bart Everson

April 29, 2016 - NETHERLANDS - This month was the wettest April the Netherlands has seen in 15 years, according to weather service Weeronline.

The Netherlands had a national average of 65 millimeters of rain, compared to the normal of 44 millimeters.

The region between Zuid-Holland and Groningen got between 80 and 100 millimeters of rain this month. Warffum in Groningen even got 110 millimeters, 2.5 times the normal April rain.

This is the most rain the Netherlands had in April since 2001, when the country got 75 millimeters.

The weather was also too cold for the usual April. The first half of the month was two degrees above average.

But due to the recent cold period, the monthly average is 8.7 degrees, compared to the normal of 9.2 degrees.

Despite the too cold weather and too much rain, the Netherlands actually had more than normal sunshine in April.

The country had 193 hours of sunshine this month, compared to the usual 178 hours.


- NL Times.







 

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Seismic Uptick - Over 1,000 Earthquakes Recorded In Two Kyushu Prefectures In Japan In Two Weeks Since Initial Jolt!

Self-Defense Forces members collect piled-up waste and debris from streets in the quake-hit city of Kumamoto on Thursday. | KYODO

April 29, 2016 - KYUSHU, JAPAN - More than 1,000 seismic events had been recorded as of Thursday in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures in the two weeks since a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck central Kyushu, according to the Meteorological Agency.

The frequency, ranging from minor jolts to the magnitude-7.3 temblor that occurred two days after the initial April 14 quake, is unusually high, the agency said, noting the nation’s total last year was 1,842. It warned people should stay alert for more earthquakes.

Major transportation lines have rapidly recovered in the region, with bullet train services on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line resuming on all tracks as of Wednesday. The Kyushu Expressway is expected to fully reopen on Friday.

But repairs to smaller roads have lagged, with rocks, trees and debris from buildings severing routes in at least 295 locations.

Debris generated by the earthquakes has piled up on streets in parts of the city of Kumamoto, with public garbage collection services hard-pressed to cope, prompting the Self-Defense Forces to help haul away waste starting on Thursday.

Some 90 SDF members helped move burnable debris onto privately-run garbage trucks in the morning. They then used seven SDF vehicles to carry home electronics and other nonburnable waste to disposal sites.

Some 30,000 people are still sheltering at evacuation centers in Kumamoto Prefecture. The prefectural government has decided to secure some 4,200 temporary housing units, half through construction and the other half by renting, using a supplementary budget of ¥36.6 billion for fiscal 2016.

While the earthquakes alone have killed 49 people, the prolonged evacuation has also taken a toll, with 16 people suspected to have died as of Wednesday due to illness caused by stress and fatigue and other quake-related causes.

Nearly 100 people have been diagnosed with or suspected to have so-called economy class syndrome, caused by prolonged inactivity, according to a Kyodo News survey.

The central government adopted an ordinance Thursday for extending deadlines for some administrative procedures, including updating driving licenses.

Among the more than 200 special measures expected to be launched based on the ordinance is one to freeze bankruptcy procedures for companies that went bust due to the earthquakes for a maximum of two years. The measure is designed to prevent chain-reaction bankruptcies.

Cabinet ministers plan to visit the quake-hit areas in the coming days to view the damage and help speed up recovery efforts.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii said Thursday he will visit affected areas Friday and Saturday to inspect damage to local infrastructure and exchange opinions with Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima.

Culture minister Hiroshi Hase will on Sunday visit the city of Kumamoto, home to Kumamoto Castle, a major tourist attraction that suffered severe damage in the quakes.

Internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi will also visit affected areas in Kumamoto Prefecture on Monday and hold talks with Kabashima and Kumamoto Mayor Kazufumi Onishi.



- Japan Times.





 

EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetic Polar Migration - Lightning Strikes Plane Near Heathrow Airport, England As Sky Flashes BLOOD RED! [VIDEO]

Lightning strikes plane near Heathrow as sky flashes blood red. Twitter / @SamVanTilburgh

April 29, 2016 - ENGLAND - A terrifying video has captured the moment a plane near Heathrow was struck by lightning as the sky flashed blood red.

Passengers on the flight into London were left shocked after their plane got caught up in the thunderstorm.

The clip also shows just how loud the thunder was, which rumbles just moments after the flash in the sky.

At least three planes are thought to have been struck.

A British Airways pilot guided a flight into Heathrow safely after it was hit, and holidaymakers returning from Iceland on an Icelandair flight spoke of a "huge crack" as lightning hit the wing of their plane.


Lightning strikes plane near Heathrow as sky flashes blood red. Twitter / @SamVanTilburgh

After landing charity worker Liz Dobson tweeted: "Plane just got hit by lightning on the descent into Heathrow. Didn't die #winning."

She told the Evening Standard: "It came out of the blue. There was a really loud bang and white flash - not really what you want on a plane.

"We could see the flash but it was on the opposite side of the plane to me. The lightning hit the wing."

Her husband, Adam Smith, described hearing a "huge 'crack' sound" before a flash of light and sparks on the right of the plane.


WATCH: Lightning engulfs Heathrow-bound plane.




Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's Equality Party and who was also returning from Iceland, said: "The plane got hit by lightning. Big flash and bang. So happy we landed safely."British Airways said its flight BA857 from Prague was also hit by lightning as it descended into Heathrow.

The airline said: "The flight landed safely and will undergo inspection before it returns to service. The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority.

"Lightning strikes are fairly common and aircraft are designed to cope with them." - Mirror.





 

WORLD WAR Z: Plagues & Pestilences - Zika Outbreak In Puerto Rico Grows, Endangers Pregnant Women!

Felipe Dana, AP

April 29, 2016 - PUERTO RICO - Nowhere in the U.S. has been hit harder by the Zika outbreak than Puerto Rico, where 570 people have been diagnosed with the virus, including 48 pregnant women.

The true number of Zika cases in Puerto Rico, where the virus is spreading among local mosquitoes, could be much greater. Only about one in five people with Zika develop symptoms, so most of those with the virus are unaware they've been infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although 426 travelers in the continental U.S. have been diagnosed with Zika after visiting an outbreak zone, the virus is not yet spreading among local mosquitoes on the mainland.

Doctors worry most about the dozens of pregnant women in Puerto Rico who have been infected with Zika, which causes catastrophic birth defects and has been linked to rare cases of paralysis.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who just returned from a two-day visit to Puerto Rico, said her department has awarded $5 million to 20 health centers in Puerto Rico. The money will help expand family planning services, including contraception, outreach and education.


Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell visited Puerto Rico, which has been hit hard by Zika. Photo: Steve Helber, AP

"This problem demands our attention and our continued action," Burwell said Thursday at a press conference.

Puerto Rico is ill-equipped to fight the Zika outbreak or care for any babies born with microcephaly, a Zika-linked birth defect in which babies are born with small heads and incomplete brain development. The island faces a $72 billion debt. The Obama administration has proposed changing Medicaid rules for Puerto Rico to cover more people there.

"We are obviously very concerned about the economy in Puerto Rico," Burwell said.

Obama asked Congress in February for nearly $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funding. Congress has not approved that request, and some Republican leaders criticized it as a "blank check" or "slush fund." Obama transferred $510 in money formerly earmarked for Ebola for the Zika fight.

But Burwell said additional funds are urgently needed. Some of the money would go toward controlling the mosquitoes that spread the virus, developing a vaccine and caring for pregnant women and their children.Doctors will need to follow the children of women with Zika infections, even if they are not born with microcephaly, because it's possible they may suffer from less obvious types of brain damage or other neurological problems. In addition to microcephaly, some children with Zika have been born with eye problems that could impair their vision or even leave them blind.


- USA Today.






 

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, Widespread Flooding, And Catastrophic Storms - Flash Floods In Nairobi, Kenya After 3-Hour Storm; Deadly Floods Hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti Leaving 4,000 Homes Damaged; 4 Dead, 4 Missing After Rivers Overflow In Alluriquín, Santo Domingo, Ecuador; And President Obama Declares Major Disaster Following Houston Floods! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Damage from floods in Nairobi, Kenya. Twitter: Oscar Alochi

April 29, 2016 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Flash Floods in Nairobi, Kenya After 3-Hour Storm

Residents of Nairobi, Kenya, were caught up in flash floods late on 28 April, 2016 after a storm brought heavy rainfall that lasted for nearly 3 hours.

It is not yet established how much damage has been caused, although images from social media showed flood water up to 1 metre deep in some streets, uprooted trees and damage to buildings and vehicles. The flooding also caused massive traffic jams on Nairobi’s already busy roads.


Twitter: Oscar Alochi

Twitter: Femme actuelle

Many locals were blaming the Governor of Nairobi City County, Dr. Evans Kidero for not maintaining the city’s drainage system. Other pointed out that the flooding has been worsened by drainage channels blocked by garbage and that residents of Nairobi have a responsibility in keeping the channels clear.

Local media also blame illegal construction of buildings along the river, blocking the flow of water during times of heavy rain. Kenyan tech news site, Kachwanya, says:
“A quick drive around the Southern parts of Nairobi starting from Nairobi West to most parts of Langata Road and Mombasa road reveal that there are hundreds of high rise buildings that have been constructed along the waterways that have played a huge role in blocking the natural course of water flow. To resolve the Nairobi Floods perennial problems, these buildings must be brought down – now”.

Previous Floods in Nairobi

It is not the first time Nairobi has experienced such raging floods in recent times. Wide areas of the city were flooded on 01 April after 96 mm of rain fell in 6 hours. The worst hit areas of the city include South C and Mbagathi.

Last year on 12 May, many people were severely affected by a flood that left at leat 10 people dead in South C after a wall of a building collapsed.


WATCH: Widespread flooding in Nairobi.






Social Media











Forecasts

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) had earlier on issued a severe weather warning and advisory that targeted at least 10 counties including Kwale, Mombasa, Kisii, Tana River, Lamu, Kericho, Narok and Bomet.

In the warning, KMD informed that public that at more than 40mm of rainfall would be experienced on 27 and 28 April, 2016. KMD’s five day weather forecast (PDF) shows a continued trend of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya.

A 24 hour cumulative rainfall forecast for 28 April, 2016 by NCEP predicted areas of that had potential to receive as high as 125mm.






A 24 hour cumulative precipitation forecast by GFS Model. CPC / NOAA

Deep convective clouds from satellite images from early morning indicated a likelihood of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya and East Africa including Congo basin.






Satellite image of 28 April, 2016 at 13:00UTC. EUMETSAT




Deadly Floods Hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti Leaving 4,000 Homes Damaged

Port-au-Prince. Google Maps

Floods have struck once again in Haiti, this time in areas around the capital, Port-au-Prince. Local civil protection authorities say that several people have died and over 4,000 homes have been damaged.

Flooding has been reported in the communes of Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Delmas, Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince Arrondissement and Cabaret in the Arcahaie Arrondissement, Ouest department.

At least 6 people have died and 10 injured as a result of landslides and collapsing buildings. Haiti’s Civil Protection said that there were 112 affected families in Port-au-Prince, 2,500 in Cité Soleil and 1,800 in Cabaret.

Haiti’s Civil Protection Directorate via social media said:
“The heavy rain recorded in the Ouest department, during the night from 23 to 24 April, has killed 6 people and wounded 6 others in Port-au-Prince and Delmas.

Four members of the same family were killed and two were injured in the collapse of their homes after a landslide occurred in Carrefour-Feuilles (Port-au-Prince). Two other people, including a girl of 7 years, were killed and four others were injured in Delmas in the fall of a wall that destroyed their house. A baby is among the wounded.”

Four Floods in Two Months
This is the fourth major flood event in Haiti so far this year. On 13 April, over 900 homes were damaged after the Rouyonne River overflowed in the city of Léogâne.

Heavy rain on 28 February caused flooding that has at least 2,000 houses in Limonade, and a further 8,000 in Cap-Haitien, both in Nord Department. One person was killed while attempting to cross a swollen river in the small village of Dame Marie, Anse-d’Hainault, Grand’Anse Department.

The northern coast of Haiti was affected by heavy and prolonged rainfall which occurred between 9 to 11 February 2016. The resulting floods damaged at least 200 homes.


4 Dead, 4 Missing After Rivers Overflow in Alluriquín, Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Two rivers overflowed in Alluriquín, in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Ecuador, during the early hours of 26 April 2016. According to Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat (Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos del Ecuador – SGR), at least 4 people were killed in the flood and 4 are missing.

The worst of the flooding occurred in Alluriquín, a small town with around 20,000 inhabitants. The Damas and Toachi rivers overflowed in the early hours, affecting hundreds of people living close to the river banks. Around 65 houses have been damaged and at least 200 people have been evacuated.


President Rafael Correa visits flood-hit Alluriquín, 26 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

President Rafael Correa visits flood-hit Alluriquín, 26 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

President Rafael Correa visits flood-hit Alluriquín, 26 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

There have also been reports of landslides in the area which have blocked important transport routes.

The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, visited the affected area soon after the floods struck.

Earthquake

President Rafael Correa visits the site of the earthquake in Ecuador, 18 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

This latest disaster is putting yet more strain on Ecuador’s already stretched rescue and relief agencies. The north west of the country is still recovering form the enormous earthquake of 16 April 2016. The latest figures say that 654 were killed, 58 are missing and 16,600 injured.

Social Media




Flood











Earthquake









President Obama Declares Major Disaster Following Houston Floods

Houston floods 22 April 2016. Sandra Arnold, USACE Galveston District

On Monday, 25 April, the USA federal government granted Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s request for Individual Assistance for Fayette, Grimes, Harris, and Parker counties after the major floods of 18 April.

At least 7 people died in the floods. Around 6,700 homes were damaged in Harris County, making the “Tax Day Flood” more damaging than the “Memorial Day floods” of May last year

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that the US president has declared a major disaster and that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Texas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of 17 to 24 April, 2016.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Fayette, Grimes, Harris, and Parker counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

“I would like to thank the President and FEMA for quickly granting Texas’ request for Individual Assistance following last week’s severe weather,” said Governor Abbott.

“The State of Texas will continue to work with our local and federal partners to aid Texans recovering and rebuilding from flood damages and ensure all those affected receive the assistance they need.”

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).


- Floodlist.   






GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Karangetang Volcano Erupts In North Sulawesi, Indonesia - Spews Lava 2 Kilometers!

On alert – Plumes of ash obscure Mount Karangetang in Siau Tagulandang Biaro Islands regency, North Sulawesi, after the volcano erupted on Wednesday afternoon.
The Jakarta Post/Lita Aruperes)

April 29, 2016 - INDONESIA - North Sulawesi’s Mount Karangetang, which erupted on Wednesday, has continued to emit ash into the sky on Thursday.

The volcano, located in Siau Tagulandang Biaro ( Sitaro ) Islands regency, North Sulawesi, sent hot lava as far as 2 kilometers from its crater when it erupted around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

“Mt. Karangetang has erupted again. There had been no volcanic activity in the last few days before it erupted on Wednesday afternoon,” said Abed Anthoni, a resident of Bebali subdistrict, East Siau district.

He said East Siau residents did not consider yesterday’s eruption to be out of the ordinary, but remained alert in carrying out their daily activities.

“I told my wife and our children that we have to anticipate the potential for greater eruptions,” Abed said.

Sitaro Disaster Mitigation Agency ( BPBD ) head Bob Chalton Wuaten said the lava from Mt. Karangetang started flowing at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday. “It went toward the Kahetang River, around 2,000 meters from the crater. The new dome on its peak collapsed during the eruption, causing the hot lava flow,” he said.

Bob added that Mt. Karangetang’s volcanic alert status remained at Level 2, indicating the need for caution, despite Wednesday’s eruption. “We call on all residents in Boro, Tararone subdistrict, East Siau district, to stay alert because the potential for the volcano to spew pyroclastic clouds is still huge. The peak of Mt. Karangetang cannot be monitored visually because it is still shrouded with thick ash plumes,” said Bob.


- The Jakarta Post.







GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Continuing Activity At The Kliuchevskoi Volcano In Kamchatka, Russia - Explosive Eruptions Results In Lava Flow On The Southeast Flank With Continuous Steam Plume!

Klyuchevskoi volcano early morning on April 28, 2016. Volcano Discovery

April 29, 2016 - KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - As had been previously suggested, the volcano's most recent eruptive phase had become both effusive and explosive.

In addition to ash-generating strombolian explosions from the summit vent, a new, but short-lived lava flow appeared during April 23 or 24 and descended approximately 800 m on the south-eastern flank of the volcano (along the Apakhonchich ravine).

It seems that the lava flow remained active at least until Tuesday, the 26th of April, according to KVERT's daily reports and images from the local observatory, but seems to have stopped by now; glow is no longer visible on clear webcam imagery from yesterday and today.

A significant, continuous steam plume suggests that mild explosive activity continues.



- Volcano Discovery.







WEATHER PHENOMENON: Intense Columnar Vortex - Rare Waterspout Touches Down On Lake Berryessa, California! [VIDEO]

YouTube/Storyful News (Credit: Facebook/Charlie Postlethwait)

April 29, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A fisherman on Lake Berryessa in Napa County didn't catch any trout Wednesday, but he did capture video of a rare waterspout.

The clip, provided by Matt Allen's Bassin Guide Service, showed the spout briefly touching down on the lake at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

The waterspout was a type referred to as a "tornadic waterspout," or essentially a tornado that formed over water.

They have the same characteristics as a land tornado and often appear amid severe thunderstorms and are sometimes accompanied by high winds, large hail and lightning.

The waterspout was driven by the same storm caused hail and lightning from Angwin south and east to Fairfield.


WATCH: Huge waterspout on Lake Berryessa.








- CBS.







Thursday, April 28, 2016

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Very Strong 6.9 Earthquake Hits Northern East Pacific Rise, Off Mexico! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 28, 2016 - MEXICO - A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has struck the northern East Pacific Rise in the Pacific Ocean, centered far southwest of Mexico, seismologists say.

There is no threat of a tsunami.


The earthquake, which struck at 8:33 p.m. CT on Thursday, was centered about 597 kilometers (371 miles) east of France's Clipperton Island, or 842 kilometers (523 miles) southwest of Acapulco de Juarez in Mexico.

The United States Geological Survey put the earthquake's preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said it struck at a shallow depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).


USGS shakemap intensity.


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami to Pacific coastlines of Mexico, Central America and South America, while the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center added that there also isn't any threat along the western coastlines of the United States and Canada.

Because the earthquake was centered far from land, there should be no damage or casualties.




USGS Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Colombia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake.

References for the Panama Fracture Zone:
Molnar, P., and Sykes, L. R., 1969, Tectonics of the Caribbean and Middle America Regions from Focal Mechanisms and Seismicity: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 80, p. 1639-1684.

- USGS | BNO News.





 

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Opens Up Near Highway In Ufa, Russia - Measured 30 Meters By 7 Meters! [VIDEO]


April 28, 2016 - UFA, RUSSIA - A huge sinkhole measuring 30 meters by 7 meters almost swallowed a busy federal highway in Ufa, Russia.




The karstic ground collapsed on April 27, 2016 during the day after heavy rains.

Just after the formation of the hole, it was filled with underground water.


WATCH: Massive sinkhole in Ufa.





- Strange Sounds.





 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits The Vanuatu Islands - Prompts Tsunami Alert! [MAPS + VIDEO + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

April 28, 2016 - VANUATU ISLANDS - A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 has struck the Vanuatu Islands, seismologists say. There was no immediate word on damage or casualties but a tsunami alert has been issued for the islands.

The earthquake, which struck at 6:33 a.m. local time on Friday, was centered about 31 kilometers (19.3 miles) east-southeast of Lakatoro, or 182 kilometers (113 miles) northwest of the capital Port-Vila. It struck at a shallow depth.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which measured the earthquake at a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, issued a tsunami alert for Vanuatu. "Hazardous tsunami waves from this earthquake are possible within 300 km of the epicenter along the coasts of Vanuatu," it said.

Other details were not immediately available.



USGS shakemap intensity.

Vanuatu is on the so-called 'Pacific Ring of Fire', an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. On average, the island nation and the surrounding waters are struck by about three powerful earthquakes every year. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.

In August 2011, two powerful earthquakes measuring 7.1 and 7.4 on the Richter scale struck about 63 kilometers (39 miles) south-southwest of Port-Vila. Tsunami waves of up to 1.05 meter (3.4 feet) were observed on the island of Efate, but there were no reports of damage.


 WATCH: 7.3 earthquake felt in Mele, Vanuatu.



USGS Tectonic Summary

The April 28, 2016, M 7.3 earthquake beneath the island of Melampa in the Vanuatu island chain of the southwest Pacific Ocean occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates. The preliminary location, depth and focal mechanism of the event indicate rupture occurred on an east-dipping thrust fault consistent with the location and orientation of the subduction zone interface at depth in this region. The earthquake is located nearly 100 km to the east of the New Hebrides Trench, the bathymetric expression of the plate boundary between the Australia and Pacific plates, where lithosphere of the Australia plate subducts into the mantle beneath the North Fiji Basin. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate moves east-northeast with respect to the Pacific plate at a velocity of approximately 84 mm/yr.

The Vanuatu region frequently experiences large earthquakes; 23 events of M 7 or larger have occurred within 250 km of the April 28, 2016 event over the preceding century. The largest was a M 7.7 earthquake in May 1965, 130 km to the north of the April 28 event. The April 28 event also follows a sequence of moderate-sized earthquakes roughly 200 km to the northwest, the largest of which was a M 6.9 earthquake on April 3rd. To date, that sequence involved 48 events of M 4.5 or greater, including the April 3 M 6.9 event, two M 6.7 earthquakes and one M 6.4 shock. Because of the remote location of these earthquakes, few have caused any significant damage or fatalities.


USGS Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate

The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.

Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (greater than 120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30°S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15°S, where the D'Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D'Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D'Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake "doublet".

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS | BNO News.







PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Lima, Peru - Experts Say The Capital Is Overdue For A Major Earthquake! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

The quake hit last night at 11:02 p.m.
El Comercio/AP

April 28, 2016 - LIMA, PERU - The earthquake's epicenter was located 46 km west of San Vicente de Cañete and registered late last night.

An earthquake of 4.2 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Cañete in the region of Lima last night, according to the Geophysical Institute of Lima (IGP).

The quake was registered at 11:04 p.m. with an epicenter located 46 kilometers west of San Vicente de Cañete.

The earthquake had a depth of 63 kilometers and had an intensity of III Cañete, II Lima.

Earlier this month, three earthquakes of the same magnitude hit the region of Lima within three days. Neither caused harm or damages.

The authorities have not reported personal or material damages due to the earthquakes.




Lima Overdue For A Major Earthquake - However, Peru Is Unprepared For Potential Devastation!

The earthquake all but flattened colonial Lima, the shaking so violent that people tossed to the ground couldn’t get back up. Minutes later, a 15-meter wall of Pacific Ocean crashed into the adjacent port of Callao, killing all but 200 of its 5,000 inhabitants. Bodies washed ashore for weeks.  Plenty of earthquakes have shaken Peru’s capital in the 266 years since that fateful night of Oct. 28, 1746, though none with anything near the violence. 

The relatively long “seismic silence” means that Lima, set astride one of the most volatile ruptures in the Earth’s crust, is increasingly at risk of being hammered by a one-two, quake-tsunami punch as calamitous as what devastated Japan last year and traumatized Santiago, Chile, and its nearby coast a year earlier, seismologists say.  Yet this city of 9 million people is sorely unprepared. From densely clustered, unstable housing to a dearth of first-responders, its acute vulnerability is unmatched regionally. Peru’s National Civil Defense Institute forecasts up to 50,000 dead, 686,000 injured and 200,000 homes destroyed if Lima is hit by a magnitude-8.0 quake.

“In South America, it is the most at risk,” said architect Jose Sato, director of the Center for Disaster Study and Prevention, or PREDES, a non-governmental group financed by the charity Oxfam that is working on reducing Lima’s quake vulnerability.  Lima is home to a third of Peru’s population, 70 percent of its industry, 85 percent of its financial sector, its entire central government and the bulk of international commerce. 

“A quake similar to what happened in Santiago would break the country economically,” said Gabriel Prado, Lima’s top official for quake preparedness. That quake had a magnitude of 8.8.  Quakes are frequent in Peru, with about 170 felt by people annually, said Hernando Tavera, director of seismology at the country’s Geophysical Institute. A big one is due, and the chances of it striking increase daily, he said. The same collision of tectonic plates responsible for the most powerful quake ever recorded, a magnitude-9.5 quake that hit Chile in 1960, occurs just off Lima’s coast, where about 3 inches of oceanic crust slides annually beneath the continent.  A 7.5-magnitude quake in 1974 a day’s drive from Lima in the Cordillera Blanca range killed about 70,000 people as landslides buried villages. Seventy-eight people died in the capital.

In 2007, a 7.9-magnitude quake struck even closer, killing 596 people in the south-central coastal city of Pisco. A shallow, direct hit is the big danger.  More than two in five Lima residents live either in rickety structures built on unstable, sandy soil and wetlands, which amplify a quake’s destructive power, or in hillside settlements that sprang up over a generation as people fled conflict and poverty in Peru’s interior. Thousands are built of colonial-era adobe.  Most quake-prone countries have rigorous building codes to resist seismic events. In Chile, if engineers and builders don’t adhere to them they can face prison. Not so in Peru. 

“People are building with adobe just as they did in the 17th century,” said Carlos Zavala, director of Lima’s Japanese-Peruvian Center for Seismic Investigation and Disaster Mitigation.  Environmental and human-made perils compound the danger.  Situated in a coastal desert, Lima gets its water from a single river, the Rimac, which a landslide could easily block. That risk is compounded by a containment pond full of toxic heavy metals from an old mine that could rupture and contaminate the Rimac, said Agustin Gonzalez, a PREDES official advising Lima’s government.  Most of Lima’s food supply arrives via a two-lane highway that parallels the river, another potential chokepoint.

Lima’s airport and seaport, the key entry points for international aid, are also vulnerable. Both are in Callao, which seismologists expect to be scoured by a 6-meter tsunami if a big quake is centered offshore, the most likely scenario.  Mayor Susana Villaran’s administration is Lima’s first to organize a quake-response and disaster-mitigation plan. A February 2011 law obliged Peru’s municipalities to do so. Yet Lima’s remains incipient. 

“How are the injured going to be attended to? What is the ability of hospitals to respond? Of basic services? Water, energy, food reserves? I don’t think this is being addressed with enough responsibility,” said Tavera of the Geophysical Institute.  By necessity, most injured will be treated where they fall, but Peru’s police have no comprehensive first-aid training. Only Lima’s 4,000 firefighters, all volunteers, have such training, as does a 1,000-officer police emergency squadron.  But because the firefighters are volunteers, a quake’s timing could influence rescue efforts. “If you go to a fire station at 10 in the morning there’s hardly anyone there,” said Gonzalez, who advocates a full-time professional force. 

In the next two months, Lima will spend nearly $2-million on the three fire companies that cover downtown Lima, its first direct investment in firefighters in 25 years, Prado said. The national government is spending $18-million citywide for 50 new fire trucks and ambulances.  But where would the ambulances go?  A 1997 study by the Pan American Health Organization found that three of Lima’s principal public hospitals would likely collapse in a major quake, but nothing has been done to reinforce them.  And there are no free beds. One public hospital, Maria Auxiliadora, serves more than 1.2 million people in Lima’s south but has just 400 beds, and they are always full.  Contingency plans call for setting up mobile hospitals in tents in city parks. But Gonzalez said only about 10,000 injured could be treated. Water is also a worry. The fire threat to Lima is severe – from refineries to densely-backed neighborhoods honeycombed with colonial-era wood and adobe. Lima’s firefighters often can’t get enough water pressure to douse a blaze. 

“We should have places where we can store water not just to put out fires but also to distribute water to the population,” said Sato, former head of the disaster mitigation department at Peru’s National Engineering University.  The city’s lone water-and-sewer utility can barely provide water to one-tenth of Lima in the best of times.  Another big concern: Lima has no emergency operations center and the radio networks of the police, firefighters and the Health Ministry, which runs city hospitals, use different frequencies, hindering effective communication.  Nearly half of the city’s schools require a detailed evaluation to determine how to reinforce them against collapse, Sato said.  A recent media blitz, along with three nationwide quake-tsunami drills this year, helped raise consciousness. The city has spent more than $77-million for retention walls and concrete stairs to aid evacuation in hillside neighborhoods, Prado said, but much more is needed.



USGS Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region)

The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, which was until recently the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded (superseded in May 2013 by a M8.3 earthquake 610 km beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia), and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS | Living in Peru. | National Post.







 

EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetic Polar Migration - Lightning Bolt Kills Man And Horse In Mantachie, Mississippi!


April 28, 2016 - MISSISSIPPI, UNITED STATES - A Mantachie man was killed Wednesday afternoon after being struck by lightning.

Tim Edge, 37, was riding horses with his father when lightning struck him and his horse, according to Itawamba County Coroner Sheila Summerford.

Summerford said Edge's father had gone into the barn while Edge stayed outside. While in the barn, he heard a loud boom and that's when the lightning hit.

Both Edge and his horse were killed.

Edge leaves behind a wife, Lacie Wiygul Edge, and a daughter, Selah.


- DJournal.





PLANETARY TREMORS: "Felt Like Being Hit By A Freight Train" - Strong 4.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Fiordland, New Zealand! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

GNS says the quake struck at 9.44pm 30km northeast of Milford Sound at a depth of 15km. iStock

April 28, 2016 - NEW ZEALAND - A strong 4.7 magnitude earthquake has rocked Fiordland tonight.

GNS says the quake struck at 9.44pm 30km northeast of Milford Sound at a depth of 15km.

Darren McKinney said he felt a slight rocking in his house at Frankton, Queenstown.

Richard Lewis, who is a honeymoon with his wife, said the couple felt the earthquake from their hotel room at Scenic Suites in Queenstown.

"It honestly felt like the hotel was hit by a freight train. Was very short, but very violent. Felt like jelly," he said.


He said if the earthquake had been any longer he wouldn't have been surprised if things started falling off shelves.



USGS Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate

The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.


Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (greater than 120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30°S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15°S, where the D'Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D'Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D'Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake "doublet".

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics


- USGS | New Zealand Herald.