Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for February, 2009

Calif Drought: Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency

Posted by feww on February 28, 2009

California drought: An ecological time bomb

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday declared a state of emergency because of three  consecutive years of drought.

He urged Calif residents to cut their water consumption by 20 percent or risk mandatory cuts.

Layers of sun-baked earth are exposed in an area of the San Luis Reservoir near Gustine that was previously underwater but was dried out in January because of drought conditions. (Patrick Tehan / Mercury News). Image may be subject to copyright.

The governor said drought conditions were having “a devastating impact” on people, causing enormous financial harm to California’s economy, with losses to the farmers  approaching $3 billion in 2009.

Schwarzenegger reportedly said the water crisis was “self-inflicted, it’s not mother nature’s fault.”

“This drought is having a devastating impact… making today’s action absolutely necessary,” Schwarzenegger said.

“We have a water system that is for 18 million people [but] now we are 38 million. We’ve got to go and redo our water system [to] bring it up to date.”

“The Santa Clara Valley Water District board is expected to consider recommending mandatory reductions of 10 to 20 percent for customers, which include more than a dozen towns and cities, including San Jose.” Mercury News reported.

“Our board was already considering calling for mandatory conservation, and the governor’s proclamation will give them another reason to move ahead with it,” said Susan Siravo, a spokeswoman for the district.

Related News Links:

Related Links:

Posted in drought and deluge, Santa Clara Valley, state of emergency, water consumption, water shortage | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Avoid Coke, Die Naturally

Posted by feww on February 28, 2009

Coke is most certainly it!

Coke’s no joke, says Aussie cancer research report

Nick Miller
February 28, 2009

A “WAR on Coke” should be part of a global push to fight cancer, according to a report from the peak international anti-cancer body.

Cutting the consumption of sugary drinks by half is a key recommendation of the World Cancer Research Fund report.

The Kiss of Death? Image Source. Image may be subject to copyright.

It says almost a third of cancer cases are preventable and are caused by sedentary habits and an unhealthy diet.

It recommends that people drink less alcohol and eat less meat and more vegetables.

It also comes out against dietary supplements, despite their anti-cancer claims, because not enough is known about their effectiveness or side effects.

The report was welcomed by Craig Sinclair, director of the Cancer Council Victoria’s Cancer Prevention Centre.

He said it was the most authoritative advice yet on how to cut cancer rates.

Mr Sinclair estimated that up to 5200 cases of cancer a year in Victoria could be prevented by simple improvements to lifestyle and diet. Copyright the author or news agency.

Posted in cancer research, coke, sedentary habits, sugary drinks, unhealthy diet | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buried in Lahar

Posted by feww on February 28, 2009

Lahar Burying Chaitén Town, Chile

A view shows a destroyed house at the flooded Chaiten town located some 1,220 km (758 miles) south of Santiago February 26, 2009. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero. Image may be subject to copyright.

Related Links:

Posted in chile, cone collapse, santiago, volcanism, volcanoes | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Image of the Day: Austrian Avalanche

Posted by feww on February 27, 2009

Aerial view of an avalanche in Eisenerz, Austria

Aerial view of an avalanche in the town of Eisenerz in Austria’s Styria province February 25, 2009. No injuries were reported. REUTERS/ Image may be subject to copyright.

Avalanches, rapid flows of snow down mountain slopes, result from either natural triggers or human activity. Avalanches can mix air and water with the descending snow. Powerful avalanches have the capability to entrain ice, rocks, trees, and other material on the slope; however avalanches are always initiated in snow, are primarily composed of flowing snow, and are distinct from mudslides, rock slides, rock avalanches, and serac collapses from an icefall. In mountainous terrain avalanches are among the most serious objective hazards to life and property, with their destructive capability resulting from their potential to carry an enormous mass of snow rapidly over large distances. —Wikipedia.

Posted in icefall, mudslides, rock avalanches, rock slides, serac | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Volcano Watch: 24 February 2009

Posted by feww on February 26, 2009

Volcanic Activity Report: 18 February – 24 February 2009

Source: SI / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

New activity/unrest:

Volcano of the Week: Sibayak

Country:   Indonesia
Region:    Sumatra (Indonesia)
Volcano Type:    Stratovolcanoes
Last Known Eruption:     1881
Summit Elevation:     2212 m     7,257 feet
Latitude:     3.23°N     3°14’0″N
Longitude:     98.52°E     98°31’0″E

Sibayak volcano in NE Sumatra and its twin volcano Mt. Pinto are constructed within a compound caldera. The slightly higher Mt. Pinto partially overtops the 900-m-wide crater of Sibayak on the north. The summit contains a lava dome and an area of hydrothermal alteration visible in this photo. An ash eruption from Sibayak was recorded in 1881, and area residents note legends of eruptions. Photo by Tom Casadevall, 1987 (U.S. Geological Survey). Caption: GVP

Sibayak crater lake.
Credit: browngroove via flickr. See source for copyright information.

Ongoing Activity:

Posted in Barren Island, Karymsky, Kīlauea, Popocatépetl, Suwanose-jima | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More Droughts in 2009

Posted by feww on February 25, 2009

Argentina’s 2009 crop production was 40-70 lower than in 2008, depending on the crop

Drought in Argentina

NASA Earth Observatory Image: acquired February 23, 2009

NASA Earth Observatory Image: acquired February 22, 2008

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported a severe drought in southern South America, which had severely affected corn, cotton, and soybean crops in Argentina. Total rainfall since December was far below normal in most areas, and the rain that did fall often did not coincide with key points in crops’ growing cycles. Dust storms occurred in January and again in February, despite some late-to-arrive rains.

[NOTE: Dust storms destroy topsoil and accelerate land erosion. According to estimates made by our colleagues at EDRO, by 2012 critically low levels of top soil will have been reached at which point significant crop failures would occur worldwide.]

This pair of natural-color (photo-like) images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite contrasts 2009 conditions (top) in southern Buenos Aires province with the conditions in 2008 (bottom), a more normal year. The province is one of the country’s major corn-growing areas. The difference in overall greenness is dramatic. In 2008, the area was a checkerboard of lush green, a sign that crops were healthy. In the 2009 image, the landscape was pale green and tan, reflecting the struggle that natural and cultivated vegetation was having with the hot, dry summer.

FAS analyst Denise McWilliams said 2009 crop production was 30-60 percent of what it was in 2008, depending on the crop. Drought stress made the corn crop susceptible to insect pests, and in some fields, farmers simply baled the stunted corn crop for use as livestock forage. Likewise, extreme heat and drought struck the season’s first soybean crop during its flowering and seed pod development phase. Meanwhile, the drought and heat caused wide differences in the height and maturity level of cotton crops, even within the same field, which was expected to complicate the harvest.


  • USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Office of Global Analysis. (2009, February). World Agricultural Production. (pdf) Accessed February 23, 2009.

NASA images by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey [with minor editions made by FEWW], with input provided Denise McWilliams, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

Instrument:  Terra – MODIS

Related Links:

Posted in anthropogenic CO2, Climate Change, crop failure, Dust storms, human impact | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Alp-sized mountain range encased in Antarctic ice

Posted by feww on February 25, 2009

A Mountain Range Like the Alps Under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet

A view of the remaining part of the Larsen B ice shelf that extends into the northwest part of the Weddell Sea is seen in this handout photo taken on March 4, 2008. Image: Pedro Skvarca/IAA-DNA/Handout via REUTERS/

Radar and gravity sensors have revealed  details of Gamburtsev subglacial mountains, which was originally detected by Russian scientists 50 years ago at the heart of the East Antarctic ice sheet, Reuters reported.

Image Credit: Zina Deretsky / NSF

“The surprising thing was that not only is this mountain range the size of the Alps, but it looks quite similar to the (European) Alps, with high peaks and valleys,” said Fausto Ferraccioli, a geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey.

Related Links:

Posted in AGAP project, Alps, glacial ice, Global Warming, lithospheric structure | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by feww on February 24, 2009

NASA Still Believes You Need a Rocket Scientist to Launch a Satellite into Orbit!

NASA’s mission to measure carbon dioxide from space fails as the $300 million satellite dives into Antarctica.

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and its Taurus booster lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. A contingency was declared a few minutes later. Image credit: NASA TV

OCO was launched on a Taurus XL, the smallest rocket used by NASA.  XL is manufactured by Orbital Sciences Corporation and has reportedly flown eight times, with a 25 percent failure rate (two failures including the OCO  launch).

In a statement released shortly after the failed launch NASA said:

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite failed to reach orbit after its 4:55 a.m. EST liftoff this morning from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere.

The spacecraft did not reach orbit and likely landed in the Pacific Ocean near Antarctica, said John Brunschwyler, the program manager for the Taurus XL.

A Mishap Investigation Board will immediately be convened to determine the cause of the launch failure.

Preliminary indications are that the fairing on the Taurus XL launch vehicle failed to separate. The fairing is a clamshell structure that encapsulates the satellite as it travels through the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency, ESA, reconstructed its Cryosat spacecraft after it was destroyed on launch in 2006.  ESA officials recently announced that it would be launched again in late 2009.  However, the future of the OCO mission remains uncertain for now.

This is an artist’s concept of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. The mission, scheduled to launch in early 2009, will be the first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, the principal human-produced driver of climate change. It will provide the first global picture of the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide and the places where this important greenhouse gas is stored. Such information will improve global carbon cycle models as well as forecasts of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and of how our climate may change in the future. Image credit: NASA/JPL. Caption: NASA.

Posted in Atmospheric carbon dioxide, Climate Change, JPL, Pacific Ocean, Taurus XL | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Amazing Images: Spiral Galaxy M101

Posted by feww on February 21, 2009

NASA’s Great Observatories Celebrate the International Year of Astronomy

Spiral Galaxy M101 – NASA’s Great Observatories

Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL, Caltech, and STScI.

In 1609, Galileo improved the newly invented telescope, turned it toward the heavens, and revolutionized our view of the universe. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of this milestone, 2009 has been designated as the International Year of Astronomy.

This image of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 is a composite of views from Spitzer, Hubble, and Chandra.

  • The red color shows Spitzer’s view in infrared light. It highlights the heat emitted by dust lanes in the galaxy where stars can form.
  • The yellow color is Hubble’s view in visible light. Most of this light comes from stars, and they trace the same spiral structure as the dust lanes.
  • The blue color shows Chandra’s view in X-ray light. Sources of X-rays include million-degree gas, exploded stars, and material colliding around black holes.

    Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL, Caltech and STScI

    The galaxy Messier 101 is a swirling spiral of stars, gas, and dust. Messier 101 is nearly twice as wide as our Milky Way Galaxy.

    • Spitzer’s view [left frame], taken in infrared light, reveals the galaxy’s delicate dust lanes as yellow-green filaments. Such dense dust clouds are where new stars can form. In this image, dust warmed by the light of hot, young stars glows red. The rest of the galaxy’s hundreds of billions of stars are less prominent and form a blue haze. Astronomers can use infrared light to examine the dust clouds where stars are born.
    • Messier 101 has a pancake-like shape that we view face-on. This perspective shows off the spiral structure that gives it the nickname the Pinwheel Galaxy. In this Hubble image [middle frame], taken in visible light, the bright blue clumps are regions where new stars have formed. The yellowish core consists mainly of old stars. The dark brown dust lanes are colder and denser regions where interstellar clouds may collapse to form new stars. All of these features are shaped into a beautiful spiral pattern by a combination of gravity and rotation. Astronomers use visible light to study where and how stars form in spiral galaxies.
    • Chandra’s image of Messier 101 [right frame], taken in X-ray light, shows the high-energy features of this spiral galaxy. X-rays are generally created in violent and/or high-temperature events. The white dots are X-ray sources that include the remains of exploded stars as well as material colliding at extreme speeds around black holes. The pink and blue colors are emission from million-degree gas and from clusters of massive stars. The pink emission indicates lower-energy X-rays and the blue higher-energy X-rays. One reason astronomers study Messier 101’s X-rays is to better understand how black holes grow in spiral galaxies.

    The International Year of Astronomy Great Observatories Image Unveiling is supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate Astrophysics Division. The project is a collaboration between the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Spitzer Science Center, and the Chandra X-ray Center. Captions: Spitzer Space Telescope

    Posted in Caltech, dust clouds, Messier 101, Pinwheel Galaxy, Planetary Nurseries | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Day Birds Fell From Sky

    Posted by feww on February 21, 2009

    Residents of New Plymouth, New Zealand discovered their streets littered with hundreds of dead sparrows …

    The following was sent by TEAA in Wellington, New Zealand

    NZ Terminal Toxic Syndrome

    New Zealand: Toxic Waters, Poisoned Land

    Raw sewage on streets, in rivers and coastal waters; toxic algae in every nook and cranny, soil contaminated with heavy metals, 1080, dioxins … ; flocks of dead birds falling from the sky …

    Hundreds of dead sparrows littered New Plymouth yesterday in what looked like a mass poisoning.

    “A former top official at New Plymouth’s lvon Watkins Dow chemical factory has confirmed the worst fears of residents – part of the town may be sitting on a secret toxic waste dump containing the deadly Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange.” An earlier report said.

    Related Links:

    Posted in 1080, agent orange, Biological Warfare, toxic poisoning, Vietnam War | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Chaitén explosion causes partial cone collapse

    Posted by feww on February 20, 2009

    Chaitén volcano explodes causing cone to collapse  partially

    Chaitén volcano erupted again Thursday in southern Chile, spewing a large cloud of ash, hot gases  and molten rock into the air, sending a river of lava down its slopes after a  partial collapse of its cone. The explosion prompted officials to evacuate about 150 people who had returned to Chaitén town, which lies about 10 km  from the crater, that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption last year.

    Steam rises from the Rio Blanco river after the Chaitén volcano spewed ash in Chaitén, some 1,220 km (760 miles) south of Santiago February 19, 2009. REUTERS/Cristian Brown/Intendencia Region de los Lagos/Handout

    “I looked up and saw a tremendous column (of ash), just like in the beginning, one-and-a-half kilometers high,” said  a resident who had returned to Chaitén despite government warnings.

    “I didn’t see much because it was overcast, and there was this huge column and fierce sound.”

    Deputy Interior Minister Patricio Rosende said Chaitén had experienced “a significant resumption of activity”.

    “Our security team has observed an increase in the size of a column of ash and smoke, with a deformation to one side,” he added.

    “That leads us to presume that there is a collapse of one of the cones. This is more proof of the imminent risk in the area. It is a time-bomb.”

    Luis Lara of the National Geologic and Mining Service  warned that a major eruption could occur anytime.

    “There could be a major explosion that could collapse the volcano’s cone,” said Lara.

    Chile straddles the South American and Nazca tectonic plates, which makes it one of  the most volcanically active regions on the planet.

    With an estimated 2,000 volcanoes of which about a tenth are potentially active, Chile boasts the second largest chain of volcanoes in the world after Indonesia. Some 20 [1 percent] of the the active volcanoes in Chile could erupt at any time.

    Based on its recent analysis, FEWW team believes that there’s an 80 percent probability Volcán Guallatiri (northern Chile) could erupt explosively after nearly five decades of dormancy.

    Related Links:

    words: 390; links: 8;  image: 1

    Posted in Chaitén town, ghost town, Mass Evacuation, Río Blanco, Volcán Guallatiri | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Volcano Watch: 17 February 2009

    Posted by msrb on February 19, 2009

    Volcanic Activity Report: 11 February – 17 February 2009

    Source: SI / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

    New activity/unrest:

    Volcano of the Week: Ebeko

    Country:    Russia
    Region   :    Kuril Islands

    Volcano Type:     Somma volcano
    Last Known Eruption:     2005
    Summit Elevation:   1,156 m     (3,793 feet)
    Latitude:     50.68°N     (50°41’0″N)
    Longitude:     156.02°E    (156°1’0″)

    An ash-bearing eruption column rises above the North crater of Ebeko volcano on September 9, 1989. An explosive eruption that began on February 2, 1989 continued until April 1990. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, which occupies the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones at the northern end of Paramushir Island. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Photo courtesy of Kamchatka Volcanic Eruptions Response Team, 1989. Caption: GVP

    The Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume which drifted NE from Ebeko at an altitude of 0.6 km. Another ash plume was detected drifting SW at an altitude of 1.2 km ft.

    Geologic Summary. The flat-topped summit of the central cone of Ebeko volcano, one of the most active in the Kuril Islands, occupies the northern end of Paramushir Island. Three summit craters located along a SSW-NNE line form Ebeko volcano proper, at the northern end of a complex of five volcanic cones. The eastern part of the southern crater of Ebeko contains strong solfataras and a large boiling spring. The central crater of Ebeko is filled by a lake about 20 m deep whose shores are lined with steaming solfataras; the northern crater lies across a narrow, low barrier from the central crater and contains a small, cold crescentic lake. Historical activity, recorded since the late-18th century, has been restricted to small-to-moderate explosive eruptions from the summit craters. Intense fumarolic activity occurs in the summit craters of Ebeko, on the outer flanks of the cone, and in lateral explosion craters. GVP

    Ongoing Activity:

    Posted in Arenal, fumarolic activity, Kamchatka, Paramushir Island, Shishaldin | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Photos from Down Under

    Posted by feww on February 18, 2009

    Australia: A Failing Continent

    Killmore East-Murrindindi Complex Fire, Victoria

    Among the areas devastated by bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in early February 2009 were Kinglake National Park and the surrounding rural and agricultural areas. The park is located on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range Mountains that arc northward through Victoria and along Australia’s East Coast. The park is only 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) north of Melbourne, and it is important to the city not just as a recreation area, but also because it protects some of the rivers and streams that supply the nearly four million city residents with water. Image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS,  and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption [truncated
    ] by Rebecca Lindsey. Date image acquired: February 14, 2009 ; Posted: February 18, 2009]

    There are reports more than 100,000 head of cattle have died in the flooding. A Georgetown grazier says the wet season has devastated many properties. (Photo taken February 2009 - exact date unknown - ABC Net North Qld - User submitted)

    Debris left behind from the floodwaters hangs from a cane rail bridge at Upper Stone, west of Ingham, in north Qld, on February 7, 2009. (ABC Net - User submitted via ABC Contribute: macad)

    Bushfires burn around Maroondah Dam on February 11. Photo: Craig Abraham. Image may be subject to copyright

    Bushfires burn around Maroondah Dam on February 11. Photo: Craig Abraham. Image may be subject to copyright

    The Moderators can clearly see what is happening to Australia. Why have the Australian government and scientific community buried their heads in the sand?

    Related News Links:

    Related Links:

    4 images; 6 links; 270 words

    Posted in desertification, Failing Continent, Melbourne, Victoria, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    3.6 million cars in Beijing and counting

    Posted by feww on February 17, 2009

    Beijing registered 65,970 new motor vehicles in the first 45 days of 2009, or a daily increase of 1,466, Xinhua reported.

    Before allowing the stats to become an emotional issue, you should consider the following points.

    1. Any Chinese citizen who can legitimately obtain a car, and who has a valid driving license, has [should have] the same right to drive a vehicle in China as does an American, Italian, French, British, Japanese …, or German citizens in their countries.

    2. At what stage of the looming ecosystems global collapse should driving a car no longer be considered as an automatic birthright, nor an automobile-centered economy an intelligent option?

    Now, the rest of the stats from Beijing:

    • Total number of cars in the city:   3.56 million [as of February 14, 2009 – figures from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.
    • No of new drivers registered in Beijing:  58,590 [in the same period, representing a daily increase of 1,302.
    • Total no of drivers in the city:  5.2 million.

    Vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam along a major thoroughfare in the central business district of Beijing in this January 29, 2008 file photo. A sudden slowdown in car sales in China and India is threatening to shrink the global auto market this year, promising tougher times for an industry leaning on the two most populous countries to pick up the slack in the West. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV/Files (CHINA)
    . Image maybe subject to copyright.

    The vice mayor of Beijing, Huang Wei, said the number of people killed in traffic accidents was less than 1,000 people last year, for the first time since 1999. Xinhua reported.

    “Beijing reported 90 deaths from traffic accidents in its suburban areas since the beginning of this year, or 66 percent of the city’s total traffic deaths in the past six weeks, according to the bureau.” Xinhua said.

    “The bureau did not reveal traffic deaths in 2008, but said last year saw the number of people killed in traffic accidents drop by 196 from 2007.”

    In an earlier report, Xinhua said that China had recorded 5.1 road accident deaths for every 10,000 motor vehicles in 2007, the highest rate in the world, Reuters quoted  from the report.

    Posted in Beijing traffic, chinese auto sales, chinese drivers, road deaths in China | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

    Nuclear High Noon in the Atlantic Ocean

    Posted by msrb on February 16, 2009

    sent by a reader

    This Dying Ocean Ain’t Big Enough For the Both of US

    Or, how we learned to play blind nuclear chicken with the taxpayers unwanted submarines in the middle of the ocean!

    Nuclear subs ‘collide in ocean’

    BBC UK;  Monday, 16 February 2009

    A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in a collision with a French nuclear sub in the middle of the Atlantic, it has been reported.

    It is understood HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant were badly damaged in the crash earlier this month.

    Despite being equipped with sonar, it seems neither vessel spotted the other, the BBC’s Caroline Wyatt said.

    HMS Vanguard, a Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarine photographed in Florida in 1994.

    The UK’s Ministry of Defense understandably too embarrassed to  comment on the reports, but insisted nuclear security had not been breached.

    BBC defense correspondent said HMS Vanguard, with “very visible dents and scrapes”, had to be towed back into its home base at Faslane on the Firth of Clyde. The submarines were both “seriously-armed”, she also said.

    HMS VANGUARD was Launched in 1992 and it is one of four British submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles. It weighs 16,000 tonnes and is 150m (492ft) long.
    It can carry 48 nuclear warheads on a maximum of 16 missiles. A two-year refit was completed in 2007 as part of a £5bn ($7.5billion) contract. Vanguard is due to be replaced in 2024, unless retired earlier by the French Navy.

    The alleged incident is being investigated on both sides of the Channel, she said.

    The Triomphant class of strategic missile submarines of the French Navy . This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0

    The two submarines are key parts of each nation’s nuclear deterrent, and would have been carrying missiles, though both the UK and France have insisted there was no danger of a nuclear incident.

    The two 150m-long (492ft) submarines were carrying around 240 sailors between them. A French naval spokesman said the collision did not result in any injuries to the crew.

    HMS Vanguard is now back at Faslane, Clyde, one of three UK operating bases for the Royal Navy, about 40 km from Glasgow, Scotland.

    Is Emperor Sarkozy gauging its traditional arch rival’s nuclear preparedness? Would France fire first?

    Which side would Rahm Emanuel’s White House be on?

    words= 370; Images=2

    Posted in Atlantic ocean, Faslane, nuclear security, Sarkozy, Trident missiles | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Volcano Watch Special: Volcán Guallatiri

    Posted by feww on February 16, 2009

    Volcán Guallatiri could explode after 50 years of virtual dormancy

    Based on its recent analysis, FEWW team believes that there’s an 80 percent probability Volcán Guallatiri (northern Chile) could erupt explosively after nearly five decades of dormancy.

    Partial map of Chile showing approximate position of Volcán Guallatiri west of the border with Bolivia. Original map: USGS

    Volcán Guallatiri is a 6071-meter high symmetrical stratovolcano located at the southwestern end of the Nevados de Quimsachata volcano group.  The snow-clad Guallatiri sits west of the border with Bolivia.

    One of northern Chile’s most active volcanoes, Volcán Guallatiri rises to the SSE beyond Laguna Chungará, and steam rises from a prominent fumarole near its summit. The 6071-m-high Guallatiri, a symmetrical ice-clad stratovolcano, lies at the SW end of the Nevados de Quimsachata volcano group just west of the border with Bolivia and is capped by a central dacitic dome or lava complex, with the active vent situated at its southern side.  Thick lava flows are prominent on the lower northern and western flanks of the andesitic-to-rhyolitic volcano. Minor explosive eruptions have been reported from Guallatiri since the beginning of the 19th century. Intense fumarolic activity with “jet-like” noises continues, and numerous solfataras extend more than 300 m down the west flank. Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution). Caption: GVP.

    Volcano Name:  Guallatiri
    Country:  Chile
    Subregion:  Northern Chile

    Volcano Type:  Stratovolcano
    Last Known Eruption:  1960
    Summit Elevation:  6,071 m (19,918 feet)
    Latitude: 18.42°S (18°25’0″S)
    Longitude: 69.092°W (69°5’30″W)

    Related Links:

    Posted in Laguna Chungará, Northern Chile, solfataras, volcanic activity, Volcano Watch | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Coal Is Deadly

    Posted by feww on February 16, 2009






    Y’all are formally invited to the 5th annual Mountain Justice Summer camp where activist and organizers come from all over to learn, educate, refresh and party to celebrate a summer of resistance to the pernicious process know as strip mining.

    Join us! at this years camp in beautiful Harlan County Kentucky at Camp Blanton. You will be surrounded by old growth forest—and the heart of the resistance movement against the destruction of the magnificent ancient majestic mountains which surround you.

    The end of the Mountain Justice camp kicks off the start of the Annual Heartwood Forest Council Camp May 22-25th. After a week of learning how to defend the most ancient mountains in the world stay and at the same place learn about defense of its forest!

    Join us! as this camp kicks off the now annual summer campaign of resistance in the Appalachia bioregion to protect some of the oldest watersheds on earth. Come join us as we celebrate 5 years of continuous non stop resistance to the forces that would lay waste to our land and the people which belong to it.

    Join us as we seek to take advantage of the changing political climate to create the pressure and visible resistance that will make it possible to capitalize on that climate.

    After 5 years of resistance Mountain Justice now is at the cusp of making gains dreamed of during the darkest days of the Bush presidency. Now the agency heads are no longer from the industry they are supposed to regulate. Now agencies are being captured back from the industries that owned them up to now. Now is the time for us to take back the losses of the Bush years.

    We are going to stop strip mining for coal with YOUR HELP. Come and help us forge a new energy future. Coal is a 19th century technology that hired a 20th century PR firm but this year we will rock the national with the truth that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL!

    Our planet is tied to the same crossroads as our species. As climate change becomes more damaging, as we gasp in cities dying deaths of slow asphyxiation from coal pollution as and entire community is wiped out by the toxic ash byproduct of this 19th century technology now is when we weigh in and make our choice.

    Help us forge a new energy policy for our mountains, the planet the people which inhabit it. Now is the time, distance, speed and place where if we push back hard enough we can not only take back what was done during the Bush years—we can push forward into a new cleaner future.

    Coal is dirty, dangerous and depleting is our message. Come join us to play, sing, learn and prepare to make a new path for our species. We need you now more than ever before because now is the time. We need writers, filmers, teachers, lawyers, artist, fishermen, 4 wheeler enthusiasts. If you have any skill—and are willing to work hard for the mountains of Appalachia we need you!

    Help us preserve the most valuable resource of all—our highland watersheds. If you think the wars for oil are bloody—wait till you see the wars for water. Appalachia is the Saudi Arabia of WATER and it is that resource which the future is going to be most grateful when we end strip mining and the resulting annihilation of highland watersheds.

    Please come prepared to camp—more importantly come with respect and a willingness to learn and work. We have fun—but this camp is a huge tool in the resistance and it’s a tool we need to do what its designed for—making strip mine corporations a living hell. We need people that are autonomous and can take care of themselves. You are coming into the Appalachian Mountains with a distinct culture which you will do fine with if you just come with respect.

    If your even curious goto our website at and see what we are about. At the very least at the end of the week you will leave with new friendships, new knowledge and perhaps some new skills to help in the fight.

    So join us! Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts and Uncles students and teachers. We need an entire broad range of experience and have everything ranging from tent space to comfortable indoor lodge space and a massive kitchen. You will be comfortable, well fed, entertained and will walk away with an entire skill set.

    Y’all come!

    Mountain Justice

    Information Services


    Posted in Appalachian Mountains, CLEAN COAL, Clean Water Act, coal burning plants, electricity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Garbage Dump Space!

    Posted by feww on February 16, 2009

    You’d be wrong, of course, if you thought Earth was the only place transformed to a garbage dump by the planet’s most intelligent species!

    This computer-generated image released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on April 15, 2008 shows trackable objects in Low Earth Orbit (LOE) around Earth. There are now more than 12,000 objects that are monitored in orbit, 11,500 pieces of which are in low Earth orbit, which is at an altitude of between 800 and 1,500 kilometres (500 and 950 miles), where there are many commercial, military, scientific and navigational satellites. In low orbit, debris can stay adrift for decades before they eventually burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Another 1,147 pieces are in geostationary orbit, about satellite orbits in the direction of the Earth’s rotation, at an altitude of approximately 35,786 km (22,240 miles), where telecommunications satellites are typically deployed. Image: Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images. Caption: DayLife. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Posted in debris in space, Earth orbit, European Space Agency, military satellites, telecommunications satellites | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Global warming worse than predicted: Surprised?

    Posted by feww on February 15, 2009

    Our regular readers probably remember Thought for the Day: A 2009 Forecast AND

    The most widely used phrase by ‘scientists’ in 2009 : ‘We were completely surprised!’

    The first of the ‘surprises’ in 2009 is a BIG one!

    Global Warming is occurring at a faster rate than scientists had predicted, according to a climate scientist.

    “The consequence of that is we are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we’ve considered seriously,” Chris Field, a climate scientist and a  member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, said on saturday.

    Smoke billows from an iron and steel plant in Hefei, Anhui province December 9, 2007. All nations must do more to fight climate change, and rich countries must make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts, a draft proposal at United Nations talks said on Saturday. REUTERS/Jianan Yu (CHINA). Image may be subject to copyright.

    Field reported that “the actual trajectory of climate change is more serious” than any previously predicted in the IPCC’s fourth assessment report named “Climate Change 2007.”

    “He said recent climate studies suggested the continued warming of the planet from greenhouse gas emissions could touch off large, destructive wildfires in tropical rain forests and melt permafrost in the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that could raise global temperatures even more.” Reuters reported.

    “There is a real risk that human-caused climate change will accelerate the release of carbon dioxide from forest and tundra ecosystems, which have been storing a lot of carbon for thousands of years,” Field said.

    “We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge surge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal,” Field added.

    Related Links:

    325 words, 1 image, 3 links

    Posted in Arctic tundra, Climate Change 2007, greenhouse gas emissions, permafrost, wildfires | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Galeras Erupts Again!

    Posted by feww on February 15, 2009

    Galeras forceful eruption prompts evacuation

    Galeras, a stratovolcano, located near the regional capital city of Pasto in southwest Colombia and close to the border with Ecuador, erupted again on Saturday, prompting the authorities to issue a “red alert” for the area. An evacuation order was issued for about 8,000 people who live in the vicinity of the volcano.

    Galeras, seen from the city of Pasto.  Credit: Henry Ernesto Escobar Meneses

    The Colombia Institute for Geology and Mines said the blast occurred at about 12:10 UTC Sunday. No fatalities or injuries were reported.

    According to the local government  “large amount of ash” was falling on Pasto.

    The 4,270-meter volcano has been an active volcano for about a million years and is considered the most active volcano in Colombia. In 1991 it was designated a Decade Volcano due to its proximity to the city of Pasto.

    Galeras is seen here from the south on March 17, 1989, with steam clouds pouring from vents on the large central cone near the back headwall of the caldera, whose south rim forms the ridge in the foreground. Major explosive eruptions since the mid Holocene have produced widespread tephra deposits and pyroclastic flows that swept all but the southern flanks.  Photo by Norm Banks (U.S. Geological Survey). Caption: GVP.

    On January 14, 1993, during a Decade Volcano conference in Pasto, a group of unfortunate scientists launched an impromptu expedition to the volcano’s crater. Shortly after their arrival, Galeras erupted killing six scientists and three others.

    In the 20th century Galeras underwent several episodes of unrest including those in December of 1923, October of 1924, October of 1932, February of 1936, July of 1947, January of 1950, February 1974, February of 1989, January of 1990, January of 1993, March of 2000, June of 2002, July of 2004, November of 2005, October of 2007, and several episodes in 2008 and 2009.

    UPDATE: February 20, 2009

    Authorities in the south of Colombia are on high alert after the Galeras volcano Friday erupted again. Colombia Reports. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Related Links:

    Words: 300; images: 2; links: 2

    Posted in Complex volcano, Decade Volcano, ecuador, Holocene, Urcunina | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Circuit Judge OKs Mountain Rape

    Posted by feww on February 15, 2009

    Virginia Court of Appeals Judge overturns a lower court ruling banning mountaintop removal

    In view of reader interest in the issue, the following Reuters article is mirrored here.

    U.S. court overturns ban on West Virginia surface mining

    Fri Feb 13, 2009
    By Steve James

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that had banned surface, or mountaintop, mining in West Virginia, according to court documents.

    The ruling was hailed by the coal mining companies who have turned to mountaintop mining as an economical alternative to traditional underground mines in Appalachia where production is declining.

    The environmentalists who brought the original case said they would assess their next legal move, but vowed to fight on against the mining method which basically slices the top off hills and mountains.

    Stock in Massey Energy Co which brought the appeal with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, was up 7 percent in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

    The 4th Circuit judges in Richmond, Virginia, reversed a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chambers, who had found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had not fully evaluated the potential environmental damage before approving permits for mountaintop mining for four mines operated by subsidiaries of Massey.

    “We reverse and vacate the district court’s opinion and order of March 23, 2007, and vacate the district court’s injunction,” Friday’s opinion said.

    It said that under existing regulations, the state of West Virginia has “exclusive jurisdiction over the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations.”

    The appeal had been brought by Massey and the West Virginia Coal Association. Surface mines account for about one-third of coal from West Virginia and half of that from Kentucky.

    “We’re pleased with the court’s decision,” said Roger Hendriksen, director of investor relations for Massey.

    Judge Chambers had originally ruled in favor of a petition filed by a number of groups led by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. (OVEC)

    Basically, OVEC contended that the Corps of Engineers had violated the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Since then, the Corps has effectively frozen so-called 404 permits for surface mining.

    Janet Keating, executive director of OVEC said: “We are deeply disappointed with the court’s decision. We will assess our next step, but obviously we will continue to organize against surface mining.”

    In their ruling the appeals judges said basically that the Corps of Engineers had acted within regulations in place. “We cannot say that the Corps’ assessments of stream functions in the challenged permits were arbitrary and capricious.

    “It is not our place to dictate how the Corps should go about assessing stream functions and losses,” they said.

    Analysts had said if the ruling was upheld, Appalachian coal prices could spike and producers with a significant amount of surface exposure in Appalachia could get hurt.

    Several mining companies — Massey, International Coal Group, Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal Corp — would lose production if the ruling went against the miners, the analysts said.

    [Note: The interest of mining companies are falsely represented as the interest of miners, despite the environmental and health hazards that plague the mining communities. FEWW]

    One analyst Mark Morey, director of power systems strategy for Allstom Co Ltd said investors might hold off until the issue had been definitively resolved.

    “Decisions like this are long term, so if you have any uncertainty, that’s still gonna guide what your investment is.

    “Does this ‘overturn’ mean they can have a whole new round of capacity? People have been thinking this decision might be held up anyway so they’ve been making decisions for the past two years with this hanging over their heads.”

    (Reporting by Steve James; editing by Carol Bishopric)
    © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

    Related Links:

    Posted in Appalachia, Clean Water Act, coal mining, National Environmental Policy Act, surface mining | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Copra on Taveuni

    Posted by feww on February 14, 2009


    Copra is the dried meaty sections, or kernel, of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Traditionally, Copra has been the most important crop produced on Taveuni, Fiji.

    Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Source: SOPAC. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Ripe coconuts are split with a machete and laid out to dry in the sun. (Source).


    The third-largest island in Fiji, Taveuni  has a total land area of 440 square kilometers. The island is a gigantic shield volcano situated on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.  Taveuni is known as the ‘Garden Island of Fiji’ because of its copious flora, thriving on rich volcanic soil.

    The massive shield volcano rises to 1241 m and is dotted by about 150 volcanic cones along a NE-SW rift extending the length of the island; some of the SW-flank vents are visible on this Space Shuttle image (with north to the upper right). Taveuni has been frequently active during the Holocene, and eruptions impacted island settlements in prehistorical time. At least 58 eruptions have occurred on Taveuni since the first known human settlements of the Fiji Islands about 950-750 BC; all of these eruptions affected the southern two-thirds of the island. A period of voluminous eruptions between about 300 and 500 AD caused abandonment of the southern part the island of Taveuni until about 1100 AD. The latest known eruption produced a lava flow at the southern tip of the island sometime between about 1450-1650 AD. NASA Space Shuttle image STS111-719-74, 2002 ( Caption: GVP

    Posted in Coconut oil, Fiji Island, Holocene, Pacific Ocean, volcanic eruptions | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Peanut Corporation of America Bites the Dust

    Posted by feww on February 14, 2009

    The Peanuts of the Year Title for 2001 – 2009 Go to FDA!

    The FDA had not inspected PCA’s Blakely plant since 2001

    Peanut Corporation of America’s (PCA), the company responsible for the salmonella outbreak in the U.S., which has sickened at least 600 people and may have led to the deaths of 8 others, declared bankruptcy Friday.

    The building of the now-closed Peanut Corporation of America plant is pictured in Blakely, Georgia on January 29, 2009. REUTERS/Matthew Bigg. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Salmonella bacterial infection traced to PCA’s plant in Blakely, Ga., led to one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, involving up to 2,000 products that were suspected to contain tainted peanut butter or peanut paste.

    According to a  survey conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health about 28 percent of Americans no longer eat  foods that were included in the recall, while 15 percent stopped eating any foods that contains peanuts, Reuters reported.

    Texas state health officials ordered PCA to recall all products made at its Plainview, Texas, plant after finding “contamination and filthy conditions there,” on Thursday.

    “The FDA had not inspected the Blakely plant since 2001, delegating the responsibility to the Georgia Department of Agriculture beginning in 2006.

    “It was during this time that internal tests conducted by Peanut Corporation found salmonella 12 times, first starting in 2007, at the Blakely facility. The company sold the product anyway.”

    “An FDA plant inspection report has since revealed cracks in the floor, live cockroaches, mold and water dripping from the ceiling in an area where finished products were stored.

    “There appeared to be a problem with the oversight of this particular contract because of the failure of these inspections to uncover glaring unsanitary conditions that were discovered later after the salmonella outbreak,” DeLauro said in a letter to Daniel Levinson, the inspector general at HHS.

    “Given the varying standards of inspection programs across the country, it is probable that there are other states with similar situations,” she said.

    “The inspector general’s office first identified the weakness at the FDA in June 2000, DeLauro said.”

    PCA filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court [Western District of Virginia,] claiming  the mass recall had an “extremely devastating” impact on its finances, Reuters reported. In contrast to Chapter 11 bankruptcy law, which permits companies to reorganize under the bankruptcy laws of the United States,  Chapter 7 works to liquidate their assets to repay creditors.

    Related News Links:

    Related  Links:

    This post: 470 words, 1 image with caption, 8 links.

    Posted in Blakely, Harvard School of Public Health, peanut paste, Plainview, Texas state health | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

    Mw 7.2 quake, aftershocks rock Indonesian island

    Posted by feww on February 13, 2009

    Magnitude 7.2 quake followed by dozens of strong aftershocks rattle the Indonesian island of Kepulauan Talaud


    Earthquake Details

    Magnitude: 7.2
    Date-Time: Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 01:34:50 AM at epicenter
    Location:  3.902°N, 126.400°E
    Depth:  20 km (12.4 miles) set by location program

    • 280 km (175 miles) SSE of General Santos, Mindanao, Philippines
    • 320 km (195 miles) NNE of Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia
    • 1320 km (820 miles) SSE of MANILA, Philippines
    • 2445 km (1520 miles) ENE of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

    Location Uncertainty:  horizontal +/- 6.3 km (3.9 miles); depth fixed by location program
    Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    USGS Event ID:  us2009cybb

    Tectonic Summary [USGS]

    The recent earthquake near Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia of February 11, 2009 likely occurred as a result of reverse faulting on or near the plate-boundary system separating the Philippine Sea and Celebes Sea basins. Northeastern Indonesia is characterized by complex tectonics in which motions of numerous small plates are accommodating large-scale convergence between the Philippine Sea and Sunda plates. In the region of today’s earthquake, the Philippine Sea plate moves west-northwest with respect to the Sunda plate at a velocity of about 62 mm/year. Locally, arc-arc collision is occurring between the Sangihe and Halmahera micro plates, wedging between them the Molucca Sea micro plate, which subducts beneath both (i.e. to the east and west) and forms an inverted-U-shaped seismic zone. Seismicity within the Molucca Sea plate is active to depths of approximately 260 km to the east and 400 km to the west. The tectonic setting of this region is unique in that it is the only global example of an active arc-arc collision consuming an oceanic basin via subduction in two directions.

    “The earthquake occurred approximately 30 km off the western coast of the Pulau Salebabu (Indonesia) in an area that has seen large earthquakes in the past. Since 1986, there have been two earthquakes with magnitude greater than 7 in this region.


    Indonesia consists of more than 17,500 islands scattered over both sides of the equator, about 6,000 of which are inhabited.The five largest islands are Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (the Indonesian side of Borneo), New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea) and Sulawesi.

    Indonesian islands sit on the edges of the Australian, Eurasian and Pacific tectonic plates and are therefore subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Indonesia is home to about 160 active volcanoes.

    Related Links:

    Posted in Halmahera micro plate, Molucca Sea plate, Philippine Sea, Seismicity, Sunda plate | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Climate Change Finals – CO2: 392 Human Chances: 0

    Posted by feww on February 13, 2009

    Congratulations! Your atmospheric levels of CO2 are at a million-year high!

    Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise to New Heights

    1. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to an 800,000 year high of 392 ppm, a rise of about 3 ppm in 12 months, said Kim Holmen, research director at the Norwegian Polar Institute.

    2. Holmen told Reuters the measurements were taken by a Stockholm University team on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, northern Norway.

    3. “Carbon dioxide concentrations are likely to have risen further in 2009, he said. They usually peak just before the start of spring in the northern hemisphere, where most of the world’s industry, cities and vegetation are concentrated.” Reuters reported.

    4. The precision of analysis of the Law Dome ice core air samples [and other data] show that levels of carbon dioxide are the highest in at least 800,000 years, and up by about 41 percent since the Industrial Revolution [278 ppm.]

    5. The CO2 rise is caused by “mainly fossil fuel burning and to some extent land use change, where you have forests being replaced by agricultural land,” Holmen said.

    6. Although the latest data is from December 2008, Holmen said, the trend from the winter numbers are obvious.

    7. Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data: January 2009: 386.92 ppm

    Related Links:

    This post: 230 words, 7 paragraphs, 4 links

    Posted in fossil fuel burning, Industrial Revolution, land use change, Law Dome ice core, Mauna Loa CO2 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »