Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 earthquake hits northeast of Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits the South Georgia Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 249 nm west-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking southward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Malawi – A report from Salima District Council indicates that floods, that came about as a result of heavy rains, have affected 643 people in Mtauchira Village, T/A Pemba. The report further states that 257 people, of which 93 are under the age of 18, have been displaced and have since sought refuge at Kanduku Evacuation Centre.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews have taken advantage of favourable conditions overnight to gain the upper hand on three blazes burning in northern NSW. The mostly mild weather conditions over the weekend have provided much needed relief for the NSW Rural Fire Service, after 22 homes were destroyed and 15 houses damaged when fires raged through the towns late last week. A further 74 outbuildings have been razed and 24 outbuildings damaged.

The Bruxner Highway fire at Tabulam has burnt more than 5800 hectares of land and is still considered to be out of control.

Nearby, just over the NSW and Queensland border in Wallangarra, north of Tenterfield, a bushfire has burnt through more than 32,700 hectares of land and is being controlled by firefighters.

A blaze at Tingha, near Inverell, which has been burning since last Tuesday remains at Advice warning level as crews work to control the blaze. It has burnt more than 21,300 hectares of land with firefighters extinguishing hotspots along the edge of the fire overnight.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Reunion

Since the beginning of the year, the island of Reunion has seen a 10-fold increase in dengue fever cases as compared to the period in 2018, according to French health officials. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 3, 476 locally transmitted cases have been reported, including 145 in the past week.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 earthquake hits south of Alaska.

5.2 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.2 earthquake hits the western Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Azores.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 275 nm west-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking west-southwestward at 02 knots.

NewsBytes:

Zimbabwe – Thirty-eight miners are feared dead after water from a collapsed dam flooded two mines in Zimbabwe. While panning for gold, 34 miners went underground at Silver Moon Mine and four miners entered Cricket Mine in Battlefields near Kadoma Tuesday evening before both mines flooded. Heavy rains overnight Tuesday led to the collapse of the dam wall. An emergency was declared after the dam burst. The flooding from the collapsed dam flooded mine shafts, which the miners entered illegally.

South Africa – Bloemfontein in the Free State has been experiencing heavy rains for the past few days resulting in floods across the city.

Wildlife

Reindeer Cyclones Are Real

Vikings hunting reindeer in Norway were once confounded by “reindeer cyclones”; a threatened herd would literally run circles around the fierce hunters, making it nearly impossible to target a single animal.

Faced with this spinning reindeer stampede, any predator — wolf, bear or human — would have a very tough time targeting and overpowering a single reindeer, making this a formidable defense strategy.

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Environment

Black Snow Is Falling from the Skies in Siberia

A pall of eerie black snow has covered several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass, which is home to 2.6 million people and one of the world’s largest coal fields.

According to the Guardian and the Siberian Times, the snow is tainted with toxic black coal dust that was released into the air from open coal pits and improperly maintained factories in the region. One coal plant official told the local media that a shield meant to prevent coal powder from escaping out of the factory had malfunctioned — however, toxic black snowfall seems to be a regular phenomena in the area and it isn’t necessarily tied to a single source.

Kuzbass (short for Kuznetsk Basin) is one of the largest coalfields in the world, spanning more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers). A 2015 report from Ecodefense found that the citizens of Kuzbass have an average life expectancy 3 to 4 years shorter than the Russian national average and have nearly twice the risk of contracting tuberculosis and childhood mental disorders.

Black snows like this one are a frequent winter feature in the region, the report found, and mitigation attempts have been… lacking. For instance, in December 2018, regional authorities were accused of trying to hide the toxic black stuff by literally painting over it with white pigment.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.4 earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.2 earthquake hits central Peru.

5.0 earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 1426 nm south-southwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking east-southeastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 245 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking northeastward at 01 knot.

NewsBytes:

California, USA – Waves of heavy rain pounded California on Thursday, flooding streets, triggering a mudslide that destroyed homes and forcing residents to flee communities scorched by wildfires last year. The powerful system swept in from the Pacific Ocean and unleashed damaging rain, snow and wind across the US west into Wyoming and Colorado after walloping northern California and southern Oregon a day earlier.

Wildlife

Huge muddy plume of water seeps into Great Barrier Reef

Screen Shot 2019 02 15 at 2 03 10 PM

Images show Australia’s Great Barrier Reef being hit by an “extremely large” patch of muddy flood water that experts say could harm the world wonder. The polluted floodwater is flowing out as far as 60 kilometres from the Queensland coast following weeks of heavy rain.

It’s thought that around 600km of the reef’s outer edges have been affected by the dirty water. Scientists say that the water is likely to contain nitrogen and pesticide chemicals that could potentially kill coral and seagrass should it stay around for some time.

Smart Swimmers

A lowly reef-dwelling fish known as the cleaner wrasse has been elevated into an exclusive club in the animal kingdom whose members have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror.

Other than humans, only great apes, killer whales, Eurasian magpies and bottlenose dolphins had demonstrated that ability. The trait is viewed as an indication of self-awareness.

The cleaner wrasse had previously been observed living complex social lives where it formed allegiances and even demonstrated the capacity for deception. “These fish are fascinating in their breadth of cognitive abilities – and underappreciated,” said Alex Jordan, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute and the study’s lead researcher.

Environment

Plastic Pollution

Microplastics proliferating in the world’s oceans appear to also be carrying a host of bacteria, some so toxic that they can cause coral bleaching in tropical waters and even bring infections to humans with open wounds. Bacteria known to cause gastroenteritis were also found.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore sampled plastic debris in the waters around the city-state. They found that among the bacteria hitching rides on the microplastics were some useful organisms, such as those that can break down pollutants in the water.

But lead researcher Sandric Leong cautioned that since marine life are eating the plastic, the accompanying pathogens could be passing up the food chain.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Telfer, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 64.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.3 degrees Celsius) at Oimyakon, Siberia.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Lassa Fever – Nigeria – Update

From 1 January through 10 February 2019, 327 cases of Lassa fever (324 confirmed cases and three probable cases) with 72 deaths (case fatality ratio = 22%) have been reported across 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with the majority of cases being reported from Edo (108) and Ondo (103) States.

Ebola – DR Congo – Update

Despite slightly fewer cases reported during the past week, current epidemiological indicators highlight that the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak is continuing with moderate intensity. Katwa and Butembo remain the major health zones of concern, while simultaneously, small clusters continue to occur in various geographically dispersed regions. During the last 21 days (23 January – 12 February 2019), 97 new cases have been reported from 13 health zones.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 6 February – 12 February 2019

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that a 97-second-long explosive event at Agung began at 0012 on 8 February. A plume was not visible, though webcams recorded crater incandescence. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone set at a 4-km radius.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible during 4-12 February. At 1919 on 7 February an event generated a plume that rose 1.3 km above the crater rim and ejected material 1.3-1.7 km from the crater. During 8-12 February there were four events, three of which were explosive. Plumes rose as high as 1.9 km, and boulders were ejected as far as 900 m from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Copahue | Central Chile-Argentina border : On 6 February OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN lowered the Alert Level for Copahue to Green, the lowest level on a four-colour scale, noting the return of the crater lake and infrequent surficial activity. In addition, data from the geodetic monitoring network showed only slight deformation during the previous three months. ONEMI lowered the Alert Level to Green (the lowest level on a three-colour scale) for the municipality of Alto Biobío.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 9-10 and 12 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 2-8 February that sent ash plumes to 2.3 km (7,500 ft) a.s.l. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk on 4 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that during 6-10 February webcams at Etna recorded gas emissions from New Southeast Crater (NSEC) and Voragine Crater, and occasional ash clouds from Northeast Crater (NEC); inclement weather prevented observations during 4-5 February. From the beginning of the afternoon on 6 February discrete ash emissions rose from NEC. The ash emissions were continuous from about 2215 on 7 February to 1015 on 8 February, producing relatively diffuse ash plumes that drifted S and then SE. Ash fell in Nicolosi (14 km S) and Pedara (15 km SSE). A diffuse ash plume drifted SW on 9 February.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 5-12 February dense white-to-gray plumes from Ibu rose 200-800 m above the summit and drifted E, S, and W. Foggy conditions occasionally prevented visual observations. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Kadovar | Papua New Guinea : According to Brad Scott of GeoNet, the Royal New Zealand Air Force released photos of a plume rising from Kadovar at 1640 on 10 February.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 1-11 February the volume of the lava dome in Merapi’s summit crater was about the same as the previous week’s estimate of 461,000 cubic meters, and there were no apparent morphological changes. Most of the extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the Gendol River drainage and the SE flank. On 7 February a pyroclastic flow traveled 2 km down the Gendol drainage. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile : ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 5-12 February growth of the lava dome in Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater was very slow (0.003-0.004 cubic meters per second). White water vapor emissions, occasionally grayish from included tephra, rose as high as 1 km and drifted in multiple directions. Crater incandescence was recorded by a webcam each day. The Alert Level remained at Orange, the second highest level on a four-colour scale, and residents were reminded not to approach the crater within 3 km. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián.

Pacaya | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 7-12 February Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater ejected material as high as 25 m above the crater rim. Multiple lava flows traveled 10-250 m down the NW flank, advancing towards Cerro Chino, and on the E flank. Minor avalanches of material from lava-flow fronts descended the flanks.

Rincon de la Vieja | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported possible events at Rincón de la Vieja at 1906 and 1950 on 5 February and at 0120 on 6 February. An event at 0000 on 6 February was also recorded; the report noted that poor weather conditions prevented visual observations of the crater.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that an average of 26 explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 4-10 February. Long-period seismic events were recorded, and hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and of low magnitude. Although weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations, gas-and-ash plumes were seen rising as high as 3 km above the crater rim and drifted 30 km S and SW. MIROVA detected one thermal anomaly. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Santa Maria | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 7-12 February explosions at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated ash plumes that rose 500-700 m and drifted E and SW, causing ashfall on the flanks. Avalanches of material descended the NE, E, and SE flanks of the lava dome.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 2-8 February Sheveluch’s lava dome continued grow, extruding blocks on the N side, and producing hot avalanches and fumarolic plumes. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images daily. Video and satellite data recorded gas-and-steam plumes with some ash content rising to 4-5 km (13,100-16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 105 km E and W. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale). Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that crater incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible during 1-8 February. Were small events were occasionally recorded, generating plumes that rose as high as 900 m above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that a period of sporadic ash emissions from Turrialba began at 0540 on 8 February and lasted more than one hour. The activity produced ash plumes that rose no more than 200 m above the vent rim. A very small ash emission was visible on 11 February.