Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

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India – The heaviest rainfall in over a century caused massive flooding across Tamil Nadu, driving thousands from their homes, shutting auto factories and paralysing the airport in capital Chennai. The national weather office predicted three more days of torrential downpours in the southern state of nearly 70 million people. No deaths were reported and the extent of damage would only become clear when the floodwaters recede. Air and rail traffic has ground to a halt.

South Africa – A heat wave has claimed the lives of two people in a shopping mall in Cape Town. Two people died in Khayelitsha Shopping Mall as the mercury reached 34°C.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Brazil

Wildfires are raging through the Brazilian Amazon, destroying vast areas of forest on the eastern fringes of the “earth’s lungs”. The outbreak of the fire coincides with the start of the international COP21 climate summit in Paris and threatens one of the last un-contacted peoples on earth.

The fires are reportedly being started by illegal loggers, in retaliation for tribal people’s efforts to defend their territories and keep the invaders out. They threaten one of the few remaining areas of pre-Amazon forest in Brazil, the last environment of its type in the world.

This forest is home to the Awá tribe, one of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. The Awá depend completely on the land for their survival.

In October, fires destroyed almost half of a nearby indigenous territory known as Arariboia, also home to uncontacted Awá. It is not known whether the two incidents are connected, or if they indicate that loggers are adopting a new strategy to claim land from tribal people.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, is calling on the Brazilian government to put out the fire, protect the Awá’s land and save them from extinction.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): After its re-awakening 3 days ago, a strong explosion occurred from the volcano yesterday at 13:50 local time and produced a plume that rose to approx. 30,000 ft (9 km) altitude and drifted SE. It was clearly visible even from the capital Petropavlovsk. Whether it was a phreatic (no magma involved), or phreato-magmatic or even magmatic eruption remains unclear at the moment. The aviation colour code of the volcano was raised to orange.

Awu (North Sulawesi & Sangihe Islands): Last week, PVMBG raised the alert level of Indonesia’s northernmost known active volcano a notch, as small signs of new unrest had been detected recently: mostly, this is an increase in shallow seismic activity since the summer and more pronounced since the middle of November. On the other hand, gas measurements still show low values for SO2 and CO2, typical magmatic gasses of deeper origin. An eruption is currently not expected in the near future, but increased vigilance about the volcano is in place.

Colima (Western Mexico): Intermittent explosions of small to moderate, sometimes large size continue to occur at the volcano. Attached image from 25 Nov shows a moderately large event.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): A phase of elevated activity has started at the volcano since 29 November. The largest event so far occurred this morning at 07:07 local time, when a strong explosion produced an ash plume that rose approx. 2-3 km and (probably) a small pyroclastic flow. Ash fall occurred in nearby villages and towns including San Marcos Palajunoj, and Finca La Florida. During the preceding days, several smaller, but significantly larger than average explosions occurred from the Caliente lava dome, which on average had only been producing 2-3 small explosions per day before.

Fuego (Guatemala): The 12th paroxysmal eruptive phase of the volcano during 2015 has ended over night. During its peak yesterday, lava fountaining from two summit vents fed 5 lava flows on the volcano’s western, southern and eastern sides reaching lengths of 1.5-3 km. According to INSIVUMEH, this episode was the largest of the 12 eruptions in 2015 by lava output volume, but remarkably only generated smaller pyroclastic flows headed towards barranca Honda.

Momotombo (Nicaragua): A series of at least 4 small explosions occurred at the volcano this morning, at 07:49, 08:17, 08:42, and 08:55 local time. The eruptions, in particular the last and largest one, produced steam and ash plumes that rose up to approx. 1 km from the summit. Light ash fall was observed in the community of El Papalonal and near the Momotombo geothermal plant to the SW of the volcano.

Turrialba (Costa Rica): A small eruption occurred from the volcano’s western crater this morning at 06:38 local time.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): Activity at the volcano continues to slowly increase. Over the past days, continuous explosive activity at the summit vent has been producing a plume of dark ash that reached 1-2 km height and drifted into easterly directions. Glow is often visible at the crater during the night.