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Archive for March, 2010

US East Coast Inundated by Major Flooding

Posted by feww on March 31, 2010

Second Round of Flooding in the Northeast

Record rain and flooding have inundated  the East Coast since weekend with Rhode Island receiving the major dividends

NWS has issued flood warnings along the East Coast, from Maine in the northeast all the way to Florida in the southeast.  Two major storms have pummeled the East Coast, and there are threats of major flooding in the northeast.

National Weather Hazards (NWS Map)



This map displays active watch, warnings, advisories and short term forecasts in the lower 48 US states. Click to enlarge and refresh image.

  • Click HERE to enter NWS portal.

Summary of Flooding:

  • NWS warned of potential deadly floods in Rhode Island
  • In Cranston, Rhode Island, Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes on Monday.
  • In Warwick, R.I., about 500 homes and business were evacuated.
  • Massachusetts Gov declared a state of emergency and called a 1,000 National Guards to help residents in the deluge.
  • As Boston broke its rain fall record for the month of March, forecaster expected New York City to break its all-time record for the month, too.
  • Forecasters warned about major flooding in Maine to New York because the rivers were yet to crest.
  • In some areas about 10 inches of rain fell in less than 36 hours.
  • Roads have been washed out between South Carolina and Maine


Click to enlarge and refresh image.


Related Links:

Posted in Charles River, Connecticut flood, Merrimack River, Pawtuxet River, US flood | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Eyjafjöll Still Erupting

Posted by feww on March 31, 2010

Eyjafjöll Volcano on Fimmvörduháls Continues Erupting

As volcanic activity at the Fimmvörduháls in south Iceland waxes and wanes, an expert said up to 20 million cubic meters of pyroclasts may have been ejected from the fissure.

Local geophysicist Magnús Tumi Gudmundsson said the volcano may have spewed an estimated, 15-20 million cubic meters of tephra since the eruption began on March 21.  The lava now covers an area of about one square kilometer, he told a local newspaper.

Tephra fountain seen at Fimmvörduháls. Source . Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.

Lava Fall created by eruption at Iceland’s Fimmvörduháls  Source. Image may be subject to copyright.
Click image to enlarge.

Increased Volcanic Activity in Iceland
. Image may be subject to copyright.


Technical information:

Webcams – Volcanoes in Iceland

Latest Images:

Related Headline News

Related Sites in Iceland (English)

Fire-Earth Links:

Posted in Fimmvörduháls, Iceland volcano, pyroclasts, tephra, Tephra fountain | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Trick or Treat-ment Concern

Posted by feww on March 31, 2010

Trick designed to warrant more Internet censorship, or genuine concern about misuse of antibiotics

The “Twitter-Antibiotics Misuse” report comes amid  findings by Britain’s health authorities linking the spread of syphilis to Facebook.  See Facebook, Security and Syphilis.

The question now is whether the following is a genuine concern about the proper use of antibiotics or a new ploy designed to warrant more Internet censorship and additional control over the dissemination of information.

1. The report is co-authored with a commercial organization: MixedInk (New York, NY)
2. Antibiotics are prescription drugs; they are NOT available as over-the-counter medicine in  most parts of the world.
3. In this public release only Twitter is mentioned by name.

Public information release by Elsevier Health Sciences

Misinformation about antibiotics can travel to large audience via Twitter: study

Washington, March 30, 2010 – Misunderstandings about proper use of antibiotics have the potential to spread widely through social networks such as Twitter, according to a report in the April issue of AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC). Researchers from Columbia University and MixedInk (New York, NY) studied the health information content of Twitter updates mentioning antibiotics to determine how people are sharing information and assess the proliferation of misinformation. The investigation explored evidence of misunderstanding or misuse of antibiotics.

“Research focusing on microblogs and social networking services is still at an early stage,” Daniel Scanfeld, MS, MA, and colleagues state in the article. “Further study is needed to assess how to promote healthy behaviors and to collect and disseminate trustworthy information using these tools.” The authors stress that because health information is shared extensively on such networks, it is important for health care professionals to have a basic familiarity with social networking media services, such as Twitter. They add that such services can potentially be used to gather important real-time health data and may provide a venue to identify potential misuse or misunderstanding of antibiotics, promote positive behavior change, and disseminate valid information.

Using content analysis of 52,153 Twitter status updates (“tweets”) mentioning antibiotics between March 13, 2009, and July 31, 2009, researchers categorized each tweet into one of 11 groups: general use, advice/information, side effects/negative reactions, diagnosis, resistance, misunderstanding and/or misuse, positive reactions, animals, wanting/needing, cost and other.

Once categories were established, 1,000 status updates were selected randomly from the complete list of 52,153 tweets and analyzed. The full list of tweets was further explored for cases of misunderstanding or abuse with a search for the following combinations: “flu + antibiotic(s),” “cold + antibiotic(s),” “leftover + antibiotic(s),” “share + antibiotic(s),” and “extra + antibiotic(s)”.

The most common category was “general use,” including a range of updates about taking antibiotics, often simply mentioning the number of days remaining on a prescription and a desire that the antibiotics begin helping soon. The second most common category was “advice and information.” Some updates included the transfer of personal advice or information, such as “get antibiotics if its [sic] serious” or “Garlic generally good, but not specific to strep…” The third most prevalent category was “side effects/ negative reactions,” which included a variety of complaints and side effects from taking the medication. Examples of side effects ranged from the general, such as, “those antibiotics made me want to die,” to the more specific, “I am on antibiotics that make me want to vomit.” Negative reactions generally revolved around inconveniences, such as not being able to drink alcohol or sensitivity to the sun.

The authors also found that while the category of “misunderstanding and/or misuse” only comprised about 700 of the more than 52,000 tweets, such misunderstandings could easily spread to a large audience due to the nature of information flow through the Twitter network. The most popular word combination in this category was “flu + antibiotics,” with 345 status updates including misinformation reaching a total of 172,571 followers. The next most popular word combination was “cold + antibiotics,” with 302 status updates reaching a total of 850,375 followers.

“As people change how they interact, going from passive consumption to active creation of content on the Internet, social networks have become increasingly important sources of information,” said Cathryn Murphy, RN, PhD, CIC, APIC 2010 president. “These findings are a reminder that we need to continue to monitor networks such as Twitter and explore ways to positively impact public health using social networks.”

Related Links:

Posted in APIC, MixedInk, prescription, social networking, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cyclone Paul – TRMM Images

Posted by feww on March 31, 2010

Cyclone PAUL Rainfall Measured from Space

A 3-
D perspective of Paul at 9:08 UTC on March 28 was created from TRMM’s Precipitation Radar. The most prominent feature is a deep convective tower (shown in red), which penetrates up to 9 miles (15 km) high. This corresponds with an area of intense rain in the northwestern eyewall. Source: SSAI/NASA. Click Images to enlarge.

The image above shows the horizontal distribution of rain intensity inside the storm. Rain rates in the center of the swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), while those in the outer portion are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). Although Paul does not have a visible eye in the IR data, the center of the storm’s circulation is clearly evident in the rain pattern over the coast (white circular area without rain).  The center is bordered by a band of moderate intensity rain to the northwest (green arc along the coast) and surrounded by outer rainbands that spiral inwards to the south and east (blue and green arcs indicating light to moderate rain, respectively). Embedded within the rainbands are occasional areas of heavy rain (red areas). Source: NASA/GSFC/TRMM

Where’s Paul Now?

Cyclone Paul ‘Kangaroo Track’ issued by BOM at 11:03 am CST Wednesday 31 March 2010. Somewhat less technical than the top image, but it gives you the general idea.

BOM Report

Synoptic Situation: On March 31, 2010 at 9:30 am CST Ex-Tropical Cyclone ‘Paul’ 998 hPa was near latitude 13.8S, longitude 134.9E, about 115 kilometres north northwest of Port Roper, moving south at 6 kilometres per hour.

Heavy rain currently falling over the Arnhem and Roper-McArthur District is expected to cause significant stream rises and flooding of low lying areas today. A Flood Threat Advice is current for the eastern Top End and Roper-McArthur District.

Locally damaging wind gusts up to 90 km/h are expected in the Roper-McArthur and Arnhem Districts with squally showers and thunderstorms. Large waves and abnormally high tides are expected along the Top End coast and nearby islands between Maningrida and Port McArthur.

Related Links:

Australian BOM images:

Animations from Digital Typhoon

Posted in Arnhem, storm, TC Paul, TC paul 3D | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Strong Quake Strikes Andaman Islands

Posted by feww on March 31, 2010

Strong Earthquake Measuring up to 6.9Mw Strikes Andaman Islands, India Region

The earthquake struck about 220km north of Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India. The epicenter was located at 13.66ºN, 92.86ºE and the shock occurred at a depth of about 40 km on March 30, 2010 at 16:54:48UTC, EMSC reported.

Tsunami Evaluation
There was no threat of a widespread, destructive tsunami; however, local tsunamis  may have been generated in coastal areas within a 100km radius of the epicenter, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Earthquake Location Map. Click image to enlarge.

Earthquake Location Map. Global View.


  • 222 km N Port blair (pop 112,050)
  • 341 km SW Labutta (pop 41,769 )
  • 218 km N Bombuflat (pop 7,410)

The above image indicates the location, year and number of fatalities (in parenthesis) for earthquakes in India in the past 200 years (From Bilham and Gaur, 2000). Source: CIRES. Colorado University. Click image to enlarge.

Historic Earthquakes (India)

Indian Ocean

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Posted in Andaman Islands, Andaman Islands Quake, earthquake, india quake | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

El Niño Update [29 March 2010]

Posted by feww on March 30, 2010

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  29 March 2010

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.0ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.1ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~0.1ºC

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (ºC) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were more than 1.0°C above average between 165°E and 120°W and near the western S. American coast.

Global SST Departures (ºC)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average across the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans.

Weekly SST Departures (ºC) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, positive SST anomalies have persisted across the central, east-central, and far eastern Pacific.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies are nearly unchanged across much of the Pacific.

Global SST Departures (ºC)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average across the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures  (ºC) in the Equatorial Pacific

  • Since mid-February 2010, the positive subsurface temperature anomalies increased in association with the downwelling phase of an oceanic Kelvin wave
  • Recently, the Kelvin wave has increased temperatures in the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Click images to enlarge.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • A majority of the models indicate that the Niño-3.4 temperature departures will gradually decrease at least into the summer.
  • The models are split with the majority indicating ENSO-neutral conditions by May-July 2010, which persists into the fall. Several models also suggest the potential of continued El Niño conditions or the development of La Niña conditions during the late summer or fall.

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 28 March 2010
SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 28 March 2010The CFS ensemble mean (heavy blue line) predicts El Niño will last through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are more than 1.0ºCabove-average across much of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to continue at least through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Unless otherwise stated, information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

Related Links:

El Niño Updates – Last 6 Weeks:

  • El Niño [Main Page, Links to Weekly Updates Archive]

Posted in Climate Prediction, El Niño update, El Niño update MARCH 2010, ENSO, Oceanic Niño Index | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Oil Giant Total Loses Appeal in Oil Spill Case

Posted by feww on March 30, 2010

Total’s Guilty Verdict in Massive Oil Pollution Upheld by French Court

Total, the French oil giant, lost an appeal today to overturn a court ruling that found the company guilty of negligence for the sinking of oil tanker Erika, which spilled 20,000-ton oil off the French Atlantic coast  in 1999.

Maltese-registered oil tanker Erika, photographed from a French Navy plane,  sinks (December 13, 1999). The rusty oil tanker broke in two in violent seas off the Brittany coast, western France, releasing about 22,000 tons of crude oil into the Atlantic. Photo: French Navy. Click image to enlarge.

Appeals court in Paris upheld an earlier conviction and a fine of 375,000 euros against the company.

Erika, a 25-year-old oil tanker, broke in two on December 12, 1999, polluting 400 km of France’s Atlantic coastline. The oil spill which killed or injured about a third of a million birds, took more than three months to clean up.

In 2008, following “a seven-year investigation and complex trial that lifted the lid on the murky world of offshore-registered shipping,” a criminal court in Paris ruled that Total was responsible for sinking of Erika, an aging, rusty oil tanker,  and ordered the company to pay several million euros in damages.

The impact of Total negligence was long-lasting. Photo: Marcel Mochet/AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Total, which chartered the rusting tanker that split into two off the Brittany coast, belching out a black toxic wave, was found guilty of negligence and fined €375,000 ($500,000). It was also ordered to pay a share of nearly €200m in damages to civil parties, including the French state. The Italian certification company that declared the vessel seaworthy, and the ship’s owner and manager, were also held responsible.” A report said.

“The courts decision establishes a legal precedent by recognizing that polluters can be held responsible for damage they cause to the environment.” RFI said.

The French Judge Joseph Valantin reportedly said Total had “committed an error of negligence that is linked to the sinking” of the Erika and it was as a “direct consequence of the serious rust corrosion” caused by “insufficient maintenance of the ship.”

Background Summary:

Erika slowly sank in the Bay of Biscay about 65 km off the coast of western France , spilling a massive oil slick of 20,000 tons of toxic crude into the Atlantic. About two weeks later, the oil began covering the shore, killing up to 200,000 birds and injuring more than 100,000 others. “Locals described a coating of black goo ‘like thick chewing gum,’  sometimes 30cm (12in) thick on beaches. Seafood was banned, fishing was suspended and volunteers rushed to try to clean the birds that were suffocating in what environmentalists called a ‘black tide.’  Some cleaned beaches were blackened again overnight as fresh oil washed in.” A report said.

“Some 270,000 tonnes of waste, made up of fuel oil, seawater, sand and stones, had to be treated in the Erika cleanup operation. Tens of thousands of sea birds usually wintered on the affected stretch of Atlantic coast and vast damage was caused to shellfish farms and fishing.”

Related Links:

FEWW Links:

Posted in big oil, coast of Brittany, Judge Joseph Valantin, oil spill | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘Google Civilization’ Collapsing from Disinformation

Posted by feww on March 30, 2010

Suppression of evolution through disinformation

When will the combined impact of the following factors cause the collapse of Google-cum-Facebook civilization?

  • Pillage of natural resources
  • Hyperactivity by energy dinosaurs,
  • Climate change
  • Spread of disease
  • Drought and deluge
  • Food shortages
  • Empire-building wars
  • Suppression of evolution through disinformation
  • Capitalism
  • Exponential growth economy
  • Other mechanisms

As for the Angkor civilization …

The Earth Institute at Columbia University (EICU) believes they may have the answer to at least one part of that question. Drought and deluge seem to have driven the ancient Khmer civilization to collapse.

Kudos to EICU for identifying at least one of the probable causes of collapse of the ancient Khmer Empire. And we are convinced they can do a lot more to explore  the role of the above-mentioned factors in the looming collapse.

The following is a public release by the EICU:

Did climate influence Angkor’s collapse?

Evidence suggests changing environment can bring down a civilization

Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence. The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may also shed light on what drives—and disrupts—the rainy season across much of Asia, which waters crops for nearly half the world’s population.

The temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia (aerial photo). The religious complex of Angkor Wat was center of a civilization that depended for irrigation on a vast network of canals, embankments and reservoirs. Credit: Charles J Sharp

Historians have offered various explanations for the fall of an empire that stretched across much of Southeast Asia between the 9th and 14th centuries, from deforestation to conflict with rival kingdoms. But the new study offers the strongest evidence yet that two severe droughts, punctuated by bouts of heavy monsoon rain, may have weakened the empire by shrinking water supplies for drinking and agriculture, and damaging Angkor’s vast irrigation system, which was central to its economy. The kingdom is thought to have collapsed in 1431 after a raid by the Siamese from present-day Thailand. The carved stone temples of its religious center, Angkor Wat, are today a major tourist destination, but much of the rest of the civilization has sunk back into the landscape.

“Angkor at that time faced a number of problems—social, political and cultural. Environmental change pushed the ancient Khmers to the limit and they weren’t able to adapt,” said the study’s lead author, Brendan Buckley, a climate scientist and tree-ring specialist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “I wouldn’t say climate caused the collapse, but a 30-year drought had to have had an impact.”

Scientists led by Buckley were able to reconstruct 759 years of past climate in the region surrounding Angkor by studying the annual growth rings of a cypress tree, Fokienia hodginsii, growing in the highlands of Vietnam’s Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, about 700 kilometers away. By hiking high into the mountain cloud forests, the researchers were able to find rare specimens over 1,000 years old that had not been touched by loggers. After extracting tiny cores of wood showing the trees’ annual growth rings, researchers reconstructed year-to-year moisture levels in this part of Southeast Asia from 1250 to 2008. The tree rings revealed evidence of a mega-drought lasting three decades—from the 1330s to 1360s– followed by a more severe but shorter drought from the 1400s to 1420s. Written records corroborate the latter drought, which may have been felt as far away as Sri Lanka and central China.

The droughts may have been devastating for a civilization dependent on farming and an irrigation system of reservoirs, canals and embankments sprawling across more than a thousand square kilometers. The droughts could have led to crop failure and a rise in infectious disease, and both problems would have been exacerbated by the density of the population, Buckley says.

The study also finds that the droughts were punctuated by several extraordinarily intense rainy seasons that may have damaged Angkor’s hydraulic system. During a normal monsoon season, Angkor’s hydraulic network could have handled heavy downpours, but after extended droughts, the system may have been vulnerable to massive siltation and clogging, the study suggests. Layers of coarse debris and other sediments found blocking some canals appear to have been laid down suddenly. In other spots, apparently sudden erosion cut canals as much as 8 meters below the surrounding landscape, potentially destabilizing the hydraulic system. Archeologists have found additional evidence that canals were rebuilt and rerouted to cope with water shortages.

In compiling the longest tropical tree ring record to date, researchers found that the third-driest, and the driest, years in the last 760 years occurred back to back in 1402 and 1403, about three decades before Angkor’s fall. The second driest was 1888, which coincided with the 1888-1889 El Niño, a cyclical warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean. By correlating known El Niño cycles measured with modern instruments, researchers have documented how the cyclical warming and cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean brings rain to some places and drought to others. The authors of the current study and other researchers suggest that El Niño, possibly abetted by longer, decades-long cycles across the Pacific basin, may have played an important role in shutting down the monsoon rains in this region, creating withering droughts in the past. Some scientists suspect that warming of the global climate may intensify these cycles in the future, raising the possibility of alternating Angkor-like droughts and destructive floods that could affect billions of people.

Similar studies suggest that abrupt environmental changes may have pushed other ancient civilizations over the edge, including the Anasazi people of the southwestern United States; the Maya people of Central America, and the Akkadian people of Mesopotamia. There is some evidence that other once-powerful kingdoms in what is now Vietnam and Myanmar may have fallen during the late 1700s, following extreme dry and wet periods.

“Both human society and the erth’s climate system are complex systems capable of unexpected behavior. Through the long-term perspective offered by climate and archaeological records, we can start to identify and understand the myriad ways they may interact,” said study coauthor Kevin Anchukaitis, a tree ring scientist at Lamont. “The evidence from monsoon Asia should remind us that complex civilizations are still quite vulnerable to climate variability and change.”


Related link: An audio slideshow follows the researchers in their search for ancient trees to unlock the workings of the Asian monsoon.


Related Links:

Posted in Angkor civilization, capitalism, collapse, drought and deluge, human impact | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

TC Paul: Wet Storm in a Teacup?

Posted by feww on March 30, 2010

Did we say everlasting storms?

Klingons would feel at home with Cyclone Paul—it’s like a bad dream that won’t go away!

Tropical Cyclone Paul (TC22P), more of a weakish storm than a muscle cyclone, has produced nearly 50 hours of rain on Australia’s NT coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, without moving much.

TC Paul has so far produced up to 1,000 mm of rain on the eastern coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia.

Summary of Details:

Tropical Cyclone Paul was located about 110km WNW of  Alyangula and 170 km SW of Nhulunbuy, moving west at about 5 km/hr. The cyclone is currently over land west of Cape Shield, according to BOM, other sources and Fire-Earth extrapolations, as of posting.

Although the system is expected to weaken as it moves further inland, it would probably re-intensify as  it moves back into the Gulf of Carpentaria by early Thursday local time.

Location: Near 13.3ºS, 135.6ºE

Cyclone Paul. IR Satellite image. Source: CIMSS. Click Images to enlarge.

Cyclone Paul. IR?WV difference image. Source: CIMSS. Click Images to enlarge.

TC Paul Projected Path.
Source: JTWC

TC Paul ‘Kangaroo Map.” Issued at 7:54 am CST Tuesday 30 March 2010.

Color-coded image of estimated rainfall total for March 22–28, 2010. Source: NASA

Tropical Cyclone Paul  MODIS image taken on March 29, 2010.Source: NASA

Australian BOM images:

Animations from Digital Typhoon

Posted in Gulf of Carpentari, Klingons, Storm in a Teacup, TC 22p, Tropical Cyclone Paul | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Saturn-like Storms Strike Southeast U.S.

Posted by feww on March 29, 2010

Violent storm system damages homes, downs power lines, heads east

Powerful low pressure systems in the southerns United States and over the Ohio Valley wreaked havoc across  the region before moving toward the Mid-Atlantic on Monday.



Click Image to enlarge.  (24-Hr FE ED). Source SSEC/University of Wisconsin
Click HERE to Animate Image

At least 9 twisters struck a large swath of the southeast and were reported in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Three were reports of widespread damage to trees buildings and power lines, as well as a mobile homes park.

There were reports of several injuries in the Linwood area, southwestern Davidson County, NC, and damage to about 50 homes  in High Point, Piedmont Triad.  In Thomasville, at least one home caught fire as a result of the storm.

The temperatures difference in the lower 48 states on Sunday was 86ºF from a low of 2ºF degrees at Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming, to a high of 88ºF at Anaheim, SoCal, National Weather Service reported.

Weather Forecast Map – Click Image to Enlarge Updated Image

Doppler Radar National Mosaic
NWS Radar Mosaic. Click Image to enlarge and update. (

Base reflectivity Radar Image.


For warning codes see: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service

Current NWS Weather Hazard Warnings (U.S.)

Related Links:


Posted in 33549159, Anaheim temp, low pressure system, storm, Tornado, Yellowstone Lake | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Junk food is addictive: Study

Posted by feww on March 29, 2010

Rats Became “Addicted” to Fatty Food

Fatty, high-calorie foods can be as addictive as heroine, and could cause compulsive eating disorder and obesity, according to a new study

Experimenting with rats, researchers found that overconsumption of high-calorie food triggers responses which are similar to brain reactions to addiction.

“Obesity may be a form of compulsive eating. Other treatments in development for other forms of compulsion, for example drug addiction, may be very useful for the treatment of obesity,” researcher Paul Kenny of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida said.

Fat Donald by DonMak. CC 3.0 License. Click image to enlarge.

The obese rats were found to have fewer receptors for dopamine, a brain chemical that causes euphoria and reward, as it does in  drug-addicted humans.

Kenny and colleagues went on a shopping spree at a local grocery store hunting for fatty food.

“We basically bought all of the stuff that people really like—Ding-Dongs, cheesecake, bacon, sausage, the stuff that you enjoy, but you really shouldn’t eat too often,” he said.

One of the three groups of rats used for the experiment were fed high-calorie food. The group soon developed a liking for the fatty food and continued to eat unabated, quickly becoming obese, Kenny said.

The rats in the experiment had also been trained to expect a minor shock when exposed to a light. But when the rats that had unlimited access to high-calorie food were shown the light, they did not respond to the potential danger, Kenny said. Instead, they continued to eat their snacks.


Dopamine Pathways – Serotonin Pathways.
Brain pathways affected by drugs of abuse. The dopamine and serotonin pathways are two brain systems affected by drugs of abuse. They are illustrated here.  By altering activity in these pathways, abused substances can influence their function. Dopamine neurons (shown in yellow) influence pleasure, motivation, motor function and saliency of stimuli or events. Serotonin (shown in red) plays a role in learning, memory, sleep and mood. (source: USgov drug abuse site)
. Click image to enlarge.

“What we’re seeing in our animals is very similar to what you’d see in humans who overindulge,” he said. “It seemed that it was okay, from what we could tell, to enjoy snack foods, but if you repeatedly overindulge, that’s where the problem comes in.”

To see how far the rats were affected by [addicted to] their compulsive eating habit despite adverse consequences, they were trained that a painful electric shock would follow a flash of light.

The rats in the other two group, which had limited or no access to junk food, avoided the shock, whereas the “addicted” rats continued eating. “We see the same thing in animals with extended access to cocaine,” says Kenny.

The study of rats may not be directly related to causes of human obesity, however it could provide an understanding of how the brain mechanisms for food addiction work and help develop appropriate therapies, the researchers said.

“Once we start to consider obesity and pathological overeating as a psychiatric illness we’re going to move a lot closer towards understanding how to come up with therapies or treatments,” says Jon Davis, an addiction biologist at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

About 70 percent of adults and 35 percent of children in the US are obese or overweight and cost of treating obesity-related diseases could top $150 billion this year.

Related Links:

Posted in compulsive eating, dopamine, drug-addict, food addiction, obesity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Climate Change Causing China Drought

Posted by feww on March 29, 2010

Drought in southwestern China caused by climate change: Chinese experts

Chinese meteorologists say the ongoing severe drought in southwest China is caused by climate change.

The drought has left more between 18 and 62 million people and 11.7 million to more that 20 million livestock with insufficient drinking water “over a region encompassing the southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the municipality of Chongqing, data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed.”

[Note: the figures vary widely depending on each day’s published definition of “affected by drought” and “short of drinking water.” See also data entries in 2010: Year One of Human-Enhanced Disasters.]

A parched reservoir in Green Pool Dame at Shilin County, Kunming City, Yunnan Province (February 2, 2010). Photo:AFP/Getty Images. Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.

“The direct reason for the drought is light rain and high temperatures,” Ren Fuming, a leading expert at China’s National Climate Center, told Outlook Weekly, a popular magazine in China, Xinhua said.

Zhang Peiqun, another senior meteorologist with the center, who agrees with Ren Fumings, aid the rainfall in worst-affected Yunnan province is the lowest in living memory while the average temperature since the beginning of winter has been the highest on record.

“The decreased rainfall during the rainy season led to less water in store and high temperatures resulted in greater evaporation, directly causing the severe drought,” Zhang said.

Zhang believes complicated ocean currents and anomalous atmospheric circulation are responsible for the drought. [See: Kelvin waves in Your Worst Fears About El Niño.]

“Zhang said the lingering cold air mass that formed last September in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau had fenced off the warm and moist currents from the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, and at the same time the cold air from the north has had difficulty reaching the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau hinterland.” Xinhua reported.

“The cold and warm currents can’t converge to produce rain, so there is little rain,” Zhang said.

Sun Honglie, director of the national expert committee on climate change, said he believed the drought was was caused by anomalous atmospheric currents.

“It is not an environmental or ecological problem,” he said. “But the drought is bound to have an impact on the ecological system.”

“Another expert, Chen Yiyu, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also said the year has seen anomalous climate conditions globally and that the drought in China is part of the phenomenon.” Xinhua said.

[Note: They are probably refering to the impact of El Niño.]

Water Severely Rationed

In Fuyuan County there has been no tap water since late 2009, residents said, complaining that “rationed water supply has not been steady, and that they have had to fetch water themselves from a village three miles away.” Epoch Times said.

“Each family is given four water tickets every two weeks and each ticket entitles the bearer to 100 kg (about 26 gallons) of water, which is not enough for daily use at all, especially for a large family of six or seven. So we have to fetch water from somewhere else. I haven’t taken a shower for a few months.” a resident was reported as saying.

Statistics released recently indicated that as of March 17, 2010, some “43,486,000 hectares (about 17.6 million acres) of crops were affected by the drought, among which 940,000 hectares (about 380,566 acres) yielded zero production, causing a direct economic loss of 19 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion).”

Related Links:

Posted in disasters, Drought, drought and deluge, human-enhanced disasters, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by feww on March 28, 2010


Based on what assumption are you still reproducing?

That there’ll always be food and clean water, at least for you and your family?

Menschenfresserin [“Female Cannibal”] by Leonhard Kern (1588–1662)

How will you feed your family if there were no more food in your refrigerator, at supermarkets, in fast food joints and on the farms?

Familiar with the food production cycle? Effects of drought, famine and starvation?

How long can you stay alive without food? How long can you keep your kids alive in the face of starvation?

Would you opt for cannibalism?

Eat your kids, if you had no food?

Could you bear watching your neighbors eating your kids?

How would you stop them?

Would you bring yourself to eat your neighbors’ kids?

What will you feed your kids?

If you can answer all but one of the above questions satisfactorily, if you are convinced the food supply will never run out and there’ll always be enough for you/your family, if you find the above image disturbing, it’s time you stopped reproducing.

If you’re planning on hoarding food, don’t waste your time and energy because you can only save what you could carry on your back.

Posted in cannibalism, ecological collapse, Female Cannibal, Neanderthals, population | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tending their Goaties at the Edge of Anthropocene

Posted by feww on March 28, 2010

Thank goodness geography is not an exact science!

“11 questions to shape geographical sciences research in the next decade”

As a new epoch dawns, prompting humanity to search for the largest cave, situated well above the sea level, but with running water and enough soil to cultivate fast growing, edible weeds, as far away from the nearest volcanoes, and with near-zero seismic history … to protect their backsides [it won’t happen that way, of course] …

Life in a Rockshelter

Daily life at Hinds Cave as depicted by artist Peggy Maceo. In the foreground two women sit on woven mats and prepare food while a baby sleeps to one side and two young girls intently watch (and learn). The woman on the left pulverizes parched nuts while the seated woman uses a parching basket to keep nuts and several red-hot coals in motion. At the rear of the cave, an elder sits wrapped in a rabbit-fur robe while her adult daughter weaves a new mat. Two young boys kick up dust as the older brother aims a stick at his younger sibling. The men must be out hunting [that’s what they’ll tell the kids, any way—Moderator.] Image courtesy of College of Liberal Arts, The University of Texas in Austin. Click image to enlarge.

The National Research Council has released a new report which poses eleven questions that they believe would shape the research in geographical sciences in the next decade. To their credit they have briefly touched on “a time when populations are moving and natural resources are being depleted,” honing their questions with the “aim to provide a more complete understanding of where and how landscapes are changing” so that the society could manage and adapt to the transformation that are occurring on the Earth’s surface.

The following expert is from the National Academy of Sciences latest public release:

11 questions for the next decade of geographical sciences identified

The committee that wrote the report solicited input from the geographical science community to identify research priorities and the approaches, skills, data, and infrastructure necessary to advance research. The strategic directions span from overarching issues of environmental change and sustainability to specific areas in the field that are transforming. They are grouped by topic area, but are not ranked in any order of importance.

How to understand and respond to environmental change:

  • How are we changing the physical environment of Earth’s surface?
  • How can we best preserve biological diversity and protect endangered ecosystems?
  • How are climate and other environmental changes affecting the vulnerabilities of coupled human-environment systems?

How to promote sustainability:

  • Where and how will 10 billion people live?
  • How will we sustainably feed everyone in the coming decade and beyond?
  • How does where we live affect our health?

How to recognize and cope with the rapid spatial reorganization of economy and society:

  • How is the movement of people, goods, and ideas changing the world?
  • How is economic globalization affecting inequality?
  • How are geopolitical shifts influencing peace and stability?

How to leverage technological change for the benefit of society and environment:

  • How might we better observe, analyze, and visualize a changing world?
  • What are the societal implications of citizen mapping and mapping citizens?

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Posted in Biodiversity, economic globalization, environmental change, geopolitical shifts, National Academy of Sciences | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Praying for rain in parched Guyana

Posted by feww on March 28, 2010

People across drought-hit Guyana pray for rain

Drought has devastated the small South American nation’s rice and sugar production, triggering food shortages among its indigenous communities.

Political Map of Guyana.

Summary of Geography and Demographic

  • Capital: George Town (6°46′N 58°10′W)
  • Ethnic groups:
    • East Indian,  43.5%
    • Black, 30.2%
    • Mixed, 17%
    • Indigenous Amerindian, 9.1%
  • Area:
    • Total 214,999 km² (World’s 84th largest )
    • Water 8.4% water (!)
  • Population:
    • 2009 estimate 772,000 (World’s 160th most populous)
    • 2002 census 751,223
    • Density 3.5/km² (world’s 225th ranking)

Little Water for Irrigation

“The government of the former British colony of about 750,000 people is struggling to irrigate farmland, with water at storage points reaching dangerously low levels.” Reuters reported.

Guyana, Venezuela, and several countries in the region have experienced drought since the onset of El Niño last year.

“The Amerindian communities are really badly hit,” President Bharrat Jagdeo was reported as saying on Friday, referring to to the indigenous people who make up 10 percent of Guyana’s population. “We have been supplying food to some communities but I need to increase that significantly.”

“The state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation said this week that cane growth and development had been affected at five of its eight estates. Replanting had to be cut back on four estates, it said.” Reuters reported.

The full impact of drought on sugar production would be known at the end of the second crop of 2010, Guyana Sugar said.

Related Links:

Posted in Guyana Sugar, irrigation, rice production, sugar production, water shortage | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

April 2010 Geology and GSA Today highlights

Posted by feww on March 28, 2010

Nurse logs: An ecological strategy in a late Paleozoic forest from the southern Andean region

Public Release: Geological Society of America

Geology articles include several related to volcanism

  • with one proposing a new name (“Poseidic”) for underwater eruptions
  • a study of 300-million-year-old nurse logs
  • inroads into the rich geologic history of Venus
  • glacial “ice quakes”
  • how titanium gets around in Earth
  • “nature’s Silly Putty”
  • Hurricane Ike and the erosion of shoreface sands\;
  • cometary airbursts

GSA Today provides a detailed overview of new digital 3-D and 4-D geologic mapping technologies and techniques.

Abstracts for the complete issue of Geology are available at Representatives of the media may obtain complementary copies of Geology and GSA Today articles by contacting Christa Stratton at the address above. Please discuss articles of interest with the authors before publishing stories on their work, and please make reference to Geology or GSA Today in articles published. Contact Christa Stratton for additional information or assistance.

Reference to University of Otago in New Zealand removed in protest against the treatment of Maori and Asians in that country. Fire-Earth

Nurse logs: An ecological strategy in a late Paleozoic forest from the southern Andean region
S.N. Césari et al., Museo de Ciencias Naturales “B. Rivadavia,” Avenida Ángel Gallardo 470, 1405 Buenos Aires, Argentina. Pages 295-298.

Decaying logs on the forest floor can act as “nurse logs” for germination of seeds, helping with the regeneration of vegetation. In a study by Césari et al., fossil evidence of this ecological strategy is exceptionally well preserved in the Argentinean Andes, where an approximately 300-million-year-old permineralized forest was found at 3000 m elevation in the San Juan Province. The fossil trunks, some of them in life position, are intercalated into rocks deposited in flooded environments that periodically suffered volcanic eruptions. The first issue of the research was to determine the means used by the vegetation to survive in such adverse environmental conditions. Fossil evidence supports the hypothesis of regeneration via nurse logs. Little rootlets preserved inside the wood of several specimens indicate that seedlings developed on these logs. Important additional information provided by the fossils is the presence of aerenchymatic tissue in the rootlets. Aerenchyma tissue is a common feature developed in plants living in flooded environments; therefore, its recognition in the fossil forest helps in the ecological interpretation.

Dating sedimentary rocks using in situ U-Pb geochronology of syneruptive zircon in ash-fall tuffs <1 mm thick
Birger Rasmussen and Ian R. Fletcher, Dept. of Applied Geology, Curtin University of Technology, Kent Street, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia. Pages 299-302.

It is very difficult to date sedimentary rocks; however, precise dates are required to construct a detailed account of Earth’s early history. The most reliable method for dating sedimentary rocks more than 600 million years old is through the use of the uranium-lead decay system in minerals, such as zircon that crystallized in a magma chamber shortly before a volcanic eruption and subsequently became incorporated into strata as detritus in ashfall tuff beds. However, extracting sufficient zircons involves destructive mineral separation procedures, often requiring thick tuff beds (>10 cm) and several kilograms of samples. Rasmussen and Fletcher have dated ashfall tuffs less than 1 mm thick using single slices of polished rock from drill-core of shales from the Pilbara Craton in Australia. The dates range between 2600 and 2680 million years old and provide reliable estimates for the age of deposition. Importantly, zircons in a 0.5 mm tuff band 15 mm above a major asteroid impact, ejecta layer yielded an age of about 2632 million years old for the asteroid impact whose strewn field is distributed across areas of Western Australia and South Africa. This approach adds significantly to the number of sedimentary rocks that can be dated accurately, and will help to refine Earth’s early geological history.

Quantitative analysis of seismogenic shear-induced turbulence in lake sediments
Nadav Wetzler et al., Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Pages 303-306.

Strong earthquake-triggered shaking often distorts and deforms soft sediment layers at the bottom of lakes. Wetzler et al. show how the shape of the deformation is determined by the sediment properties; namely, density, viscosity, and layer thickness, and by the earthquake size, duration of shaking, and distance of the earthquake source. By measuring the sediment properties, they can reconstruct the characteristics of past earthquakes that deformed ancient sediments. They suggest a mechanism that induces sediment deformation during earthquakes, the “Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability,” named after the physicists Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) and Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), who independently formulated the development of turbulence in fluids. Wetzler et al. use their formula to link the deformation types that remained in the sediments to the properties of past earthquakes. The deformation begins as moderate wave-like folds, evolves into complex recumbent folds, and finally the folds become unstable and the layers are fragmented. This linkage will enable scientists to reconstruct long earthquake histories in regions where ancient lake sediments are exposed, thus extending the earthquake record to periods well before the deployment of modern seismographs. A record of this kind is found around the Dead Sea, where lake sediments deposited in the past 70 thousand years exhibit spectacular deformation features.

Reconciling plate kinematic and seismic estimates of lithospheric convergence in the central Indian Ocean
J.M. Bull et al., School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK. Pages 307-310.

The discovery that Earth’s strong outer shell – the lithosphere – within the central Indian Ocean began to deform and fracture 18-14 million years ago, much earlier than previously thought, impacts the understanding of the birth of the Himalayas and the strengthening of the Indian-Asian monsoon. The far-field signature of the India-Asia collision and history of uplift in Tibet is recorded by sediment input into the Indian Ocean and the strain accumulation history across the diffuse plate boundary between the Indian and Capricorn plates. Bull et al. describe the history of India-Capricorn convergence from updated estimates of India-Somalia-Capricorn plate rotations and observations derived from seismic reflection data. The new India-Capricorn rotations suggest that convergence began between 14 and 18 million years ago, consistent with marine seismic evidence for an onset of deformation at 15.4 to 13.9 million years ago. They further show that convergence rates doubled at 8 million years ago, in agreement with a sharp increase in fault activity at 8 to 7.5 million years ago, seen on seismic reflection profiles.

Venus records a rich early history
V.L. Hansen and I. López, Institute for Frontier Research on Earth Evolution, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan. Pages 215-218.

A widely held hypothesis suggests that Venus experienced catastrophic resurfacing about 500 million years ago, resulting in the burial of 80% of Venus’ surface. This hypothesis predicts that Venus’ surface should record only the post-catastrophic history, because postulated catastrophic resurfacing would have buried an earlier record. In this study, results of global mapping of ribbon-tessera terrain (RTT), a structurally distinctive unit that represents some of Venus’ oldest surfaces formed prior to the postulated global catastrophic resurfacing, challenges the catastrophic resurfacing hypothesis. The global geologic RTT map delineates unit exposures and structural trends based on NASA Magellan data. Map relations illustrate that the RTT displays planet-scale patterns that, together with altimetry, record a rich geologic history. RTT records a regional-scale history of deformation phases or events that vary in space and time. At a global scale, patterns within RTT outcrops and fabrics extend over millions of square kilometers; individual suites record variable temporal evolution, which could potentially be used to correlate temporally distinct events over large regional scales. The picture that emerges is one in which Venus’ surface records a rich and prolonged history that awaits discovery. RTT formed during a specific geologic era, marked by relatively unique environmental conditions, conceptually similar to Earth’s Archean Eon.

Global enhancement of ocean anoxia during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2: A quantitative approach using U isotopes
Carolina Montoya-Pino et al., Institut für Geowissenschaften, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main 60438, Germany. Pages 315-318.

The Mesozoic greenhouse world was characterized by periods of widespread deposition of anoxic sediments, indicating discrete episodes of enhanced anoxic conditions in the oceans. Such oceanic anoxic events, caused by high organic carbon burial, had strong impacts on marine biogeochemical cycles and biotic evolution. Here, Montoya-Pino et al. present a novel approach, using the variations in the isotopic composition of uranium (uranium-238/uranium-235), to quantify the enhancement of seafloor anoxia during the mid-Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (about 93 million years ago). They find a shift in the uranium isotope composition of anoxic sediments from this time relative to that in modern organic-rich sediments from the Black Sea that indicates a three- to five-fold global enhancement of ocean anoxia relative to the present during the Oceanic Anoxic Event 2.

Glacier microseismicity
Michael E. West et al., Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, USA. Pages 319-322.

There is increasing evidence that small glacier earthquakes can be effectively used to track the day-to-day evolution of glacier systems. From cracking ice to gushing water to iceberg calving, these signals produce notable ground vibrations that can be detected by the same instrumentation more frequently deployed to monitor earthquakes and volcanoes. West et al. demonstrate the existence of three different classes of seismic events (or ice quakes); each potentially associated with different source mechanisms. By tracking the occurrence of these events over periods of days to months, it is possible to determine when different mechanical processes turn on and off.

Extremely high solubility of rutile in chloride and fluoride-bearing metamorphic fluids: An experimental investigation
J.F. Rapp et al., School of GeoSciences, King’s Buildings, West Mains Road, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, UK. Pages 323-326.

Titanium is part of a group of elements useful in many technological applications. It often occurs in minerals that are very difficult to dissolve in water at Earth’s surface, and so we’ve always assumed the same is true deep within Earth. This assumption has left us with many unanswered questions about titanium ore formation and how titanium and other commercially useful elements are cycled within Earth. Research by Rapp et al. has helped us to understand some of the important processes that lead to such useful elements becoming available at the surface of Earth. Their experiments were carried out at 5000 times atmospheric pressure and 10 times the boiling point of water. At these conditions, water is nothing like the stuff that comes out of your tap. It is highly reactive, and when other chemicals, such as salts, are added, Rapp et al. have shown that it is easily capable of dissolving highly resistant minerals. Their experiments have defined what conditions are necessary for titanium to be transported within Earth, which means that we have a better understanding of the chemistry of Earth’s crust, and how processes like ore formation occur.

Did intense volcanism trigger the first Late Ordovician icehouse?
Werner Buggisch et al., Geozentrum Nordbayern, Universität Erlangen Nürnberg, Schlossgarten 5, D-91054 Erlangen, Germany. Pages 327-330.

The Ordovician was a time when the some of the largest volcanic eruptions of Earth’s history occurred in North America and Baltica. Coincident with one of the eruptions, the Deicke bentonite, a considerable cooling was manifested in the isotopic composition of phosphatic microfossils. Hence it is concluded by Buggisch et al. that the eruption triggered a substantial cooling, leading to the onset of the Ordovician ice age.

Estimating hydraulic conductivity from drainage patterns – A case study in the Oregon Cascades
Wei Luo et al., Dept. of Geography, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois 60115, USA. Pages 335-338.

This study by Luo et al. introduces a new method for estimating hydraulic conductivity, based on the concept of effective groundwater drainage length and assuming the flow is primarily horizontal. The effective groundwater drainage length is related to the surface drainage dissection patterns (as expressed in drainage density) forming over long periods of time. Application of the new method to the Oregon Cascades yielded hydraulic conductivity values similar to those documented in the literature. This method represents an effective and efficient way of estimating hydraulic conductivity for regions where the interplay between surface drainage, groundwater, and topography has established a steady-state dynamic equilibrium. It also provides a theoretically sound approach for extrapolating limited local measurements to a large region and revealing the spatial variation of hydraulic conductivity.

Shortening viscous pressure ridges, a solution to the enigma of initiating salt “withdrawal” minibasins
Steven J. Ings and Christopher Beaumont, Dept. of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada. Pages 339-342.

Rock salt, common in sedimentary basins worldwide, is significantly weaker than most other sedimentary rocks. As other sediments are deposited onto weak salt layers, the salt, sometimes referred to as “nature’s Silly Putty,” can be squeezed into a variety of structures with a wide range of shapes and sizes (from hundreds of meters to tens of kilometers). This process, termed salt tectonics, can be a first order control on the geologic evolution of sedimentary basins. Although this phenomenon is well studied, many of the basic driving processes have remained elusive. In this paper, Ings and Beaumont propose a new model for the development of an enigmatic subset of salt-related features: salt withdrawal minibasins. These features are semi-circular depressions, often 10-30 km in diameter, that act as ponding areas for sediment deposition. In the past, it was widely held that these minibasins developed because the sediment was more dense than the salt, allowing it to simply sink into the salt during deposition. However, many minibasins start to grow while the compacting sediments are actually less dense than the underlying salt, so the sinking theory doesn’t work. Here, Ings and Beaumont develop an alternative model that solves the enigma: the shortening Viscous Pressure Ridge mechanism.

Hybrid flow sills: A new mode of igneous sheet intrusion
Andrew Miles and Joseph Cartwright, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EQ, UK. Pages 343-346.

Magma is often emplaced into preexisting rocks or sediments as sheets, producing features known as sills. Contrasts in the properties of sills and what they intrude mean that they can easily be mapped beneath the surface by seismic studies. A recent study by Miles and Cartwright of an area off the west coast of Norway has imaged a series of such sills which were emplaced 55 million years ago during the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean. Despite having been emplaced at depths of 400 m beneath the seabed, these sills appear almost identical to the lava flows seen in volcanically active areas like Hawaii. When magma is intruded into soft and water-rich sediments, such as those off the Norwegian coast, the magma behaves in a manner analogous to lavas at the surface. Understanding how such magma moves through the crust is important for being able to model the conditions that are necessary for the formation of magmatic intrusions and volcanoes.

“Inheritance”: An influence on the particle size of pyroclastic deposits
R.J. Carey, and B.F. Houghton, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA. Pages 347-350.

Grain size of pyroclastic deposits is the most widely used technique employed by volcanologists in an effort to understand conduit, eruption, and plume processes. Such measurements are critical to constrain: eruption intensity and style, column height and processes occurring within the plume, and the depth of fragmentation of the magma. In addition, models of eruption and particle transport within plumes require accurate input data, such as grain size, with which to generate, compare, and test model outputs. However, grain size measurements independent of clast componentry for pyroclastic deposits can lead to misleading results and interpretations of these processes. Carey and Houghton illustrate the strength of a combined grain-size/componentry approach using new data from the proximal deposits of the A.D. 1886 basaltic Plinian eruption of Tarawera volcano, New Zealand. This eruption was New Zealand’s worst volcanic disaster and the second-largest natural disaster in New Zealand in historic times. This article provides important caveats to a well-established method for volcanologists studying pyroclastic deposits, and has relevance to other scientific communities that commonly use grain-size techniques.

Offshore transport of sediment during cyclonic storms: Hurricane Ike (2008), Texas Gulf Coast, USA
John A. Goff et al., Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Pickle Research Campus Building 196, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas 78758-4445, USA. Pages 351-354.

Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas (United States) coast on 13 Sept. 2008. The accompanying storm surge flooded Galveston Bay with up to 5 m of water above sea level. The surge flood and ebb preferentially flowed over a low-elevation, bay-fronting spit known as the Bolivar Peninsula, destroying buildings and eroding sediments. Surge waters also flowed through Bolivar Roads tidal inlet, the main passageway through the barrier system that separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay. In this study, bathymetry, CHIRP data, and samples were collected in Bolivar Roads nine to ten days after the storm and compared to data collected four months prior. Additional data were collected offshore of Bolivar Peninsula in October 2008. Results document the dominance of the storm surge ebb in forcing sediment transport through the inlet, which is not considered in models of beach barrier evolution. Shoreface sands appear to have been eroded by the storm, and moved sufficiently offshore by the storm surge ebb that they cannot be reincorporated, indicating a significant loss to the barrier system’s sediment budget as a result of a single storm.

Cometary airbursts and atmospheric chemistry: Tunguska and a candidate Younger Dryas event
Adrian L. Melott et al., Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA. Pages 259-262.

Melott et al. compare computed atmospheric effects of the A.D. 1908 Tunguska, Russia, aerial explosion, thought to be a comet or asteroid, with those they expect from a mile-wide comet that has been proposed to have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, plunging Earth back into an ice age and causing species extinctions. Results for both were then compared with data from ice cores at both times. They find coincident peaks in nitrates and ammonia are present in both, but the Tunguska event was too small to explain the ammonia as coming from the comet or the ensuing forest fire. A chemical reaction called the Haber Process, brought on by the pressure of the shock wave, is proposed as a possible common explanation. Melott et al.’s predictions for ice cores from the Tunguska time agree very well with data, but they predict a much larger peak than is found for the earlier (Younger Dryas) data. They suggest that much more closely spaced sampling of the ice cores is needed, as the chemical changes to the atmosphere can be greatly reduced within a decade.

Alkalinity control on the partition coefficients in lacustrine ostracodes from Australia
Chris Gouramanis and Patrick De Deckker, Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia. Pages 359-362.

Gouramanis and De Deckker explore the mechanisms and processes by which Australian lacustrine ostracodes (bivalved microcrustaceans) uptake and utilize trace metals from the surrounding water during calcification. Their models allow comparison of the trace metal composition of the ostracode valves with the trace metal composition of the water. They also show how varying hydrological factors, including the Mg/Ca and bicarbonate concentration of the water, can affect models. These models can be used in lacustrine trace metal reconstructions of paleoenvironmental conditions from ostracode valve chemistry.

Ductile fractures and magma migration from source
Roberto F. Weinberg and Klaus Regenauer-Lieb, School of Geosciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia. Pages 363-366.

Mechanisms explaining efficient melt transport away from hot, ductile source regions are problematic. Brittle-elastic fracturing is a well-known mechanism that allows fast magma migration as dikes through cold crust. Ductile fractures have been proposed as an alternative for ductile environments, where brittle-elastic diking is inhibited. Ductile fracturing results from rock creep and growth of microscale voids that become interconnected, leading to rock failure. In this paper, Weinberg and Regenauer-Lieb present observations and numerical models supporting the hypothesis that ductile fracture controls early steps in magma migration. They postulate that once developed, ductile fracture dikes may reach a critical length where magma stresses at dike tips overcome fracture toughness and lead to brittle-elastic diking, which subsequently controls magma migration.

Heterogeneous nucleation and epitaxial crystal growth of magmatic minerals
Julia E. Hammer et al., Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Hawaii 96822, USA. Pages 367-370.

A topic central to the study of igneous rock texture is the proclivity of major rock-forming minerals to intergrow. A strong tendency for crystals to either share interfaces or to avoid contact has important implications for evolution of mineral compositions and texture during magma crystallization, as it would control grain size, shape, and the spatial distribution of minerals. In the case of mafic magmas, pyroxene and magnetite occur in contact more frequently than is expected from a random distribution of crystals. Hammer et al. quantify this contiguity and examine synthetic and natural rocks in order to investigate the possibility that interface energetics acting at the nanoscale during crystal nucleation compel pyroxene and magnetite to form in mutual contact. Electron backscatter diffraction analysis of dendritic clinopyroxene forming in rapidly cooled basalt revealed two features that are unexpected for phases growing from a liquid: (A) helical growth about the crystallographic b-axis of clinopyroxene, and (B) strong crystallographic preferred orientation between clinopyroxene and titanomagnetite. An epitaxial relationship between pyroxene and magnetite has never been reported for these phases forming from the melt, and may have important implications for the magnetic properties of mafic igneous rocks, crystal layering fabrics, and subsurface magma flow and eruption dynamics.

Oblique dilation, melt transfer, and gneiss dome emplacement
R.R. McFadden et al., Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA. Pages 375-378.

The upward transfer of partially molten crust and the formation of gneiss domes and metamorphic core complexes commonly take place by localization of normal or oblique extension in the middle and upper crust. In Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica, a transition from strike-slip to oblique extension occurred during oblique plate divergence along the East Gondwana margin and extension associated with the West Antarctic rift system in mid-Cretaceous time. Once partially molten, rocks in the Fosdick gneiss dome record steep fabrics formed during strike-slip. Subhorizontal foliation and subhorizontal granitic sheets overprint these steep fabrics. The granites emplaced in the steep fabrics are consistently older than the granite sheets emplaced in the subhorizontal foliation. The subhorizontal granite sheets also are emplaced during movement of a low-angle normal fault. This study by McFadden et al. has implications for understanding how melt moves through the crust, controls on the accumulation of magma within the crust, and the formation of low-angle normal faults in oblique tectonic regions.

Direct observation of a fossil high-temperature, fault-hosted, hydrothermal upflow zone in crust formed at the East Pacific Rise
A.K. Barker et al., School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3065 STN CSC, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 3V6, Canada. Pages 379-382.

Fault zones in the ocean crust are commonly hypothesized to act as high-permeability conduits that focus fluid flow in oceanic hydrothermal systems. However, there has been little direct study of faults in crust formed at fast-spreading ridges. Barker et al. describe the geology and geochemistry of an approx. 40-m-wide fault zone within the uppermost sheeted dike complex exposed at Pito Deep (northeast Easter microplate). Titanium-in-quartz thermometry gives temperatures of 392 plus or minus 33 degrees Celsius for quartz precipitation, indicating that this fault zone focused upwelling fluids at temperatures similar to those of black-smoker vent fluids. Correlated enrichment in strontium-87/strontium-86 and MgO in fault breccias, along with other data, provide evidence for mixing between high-temperature upwelling fluids and a seawater-like fluid within the fault zone. Large high-temperature fluid fluxes are required to maintain high temperatures during mixing. If this fault zone is representative of upflow zones beneath hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise, then it is possible that vent fluids evolve thermally and chemically during their ascent, and may not record the precise conditions at the base of the hydrothermal system.

GSA Today Science Article
The digital revolution in geologic mapping

Steven J. Whitmeyer et al., James Madison University, Dept. of Geology & Environmental Science, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. Pages 4-10.

The publication in 1815 of Smith’s geological map of England laid the groundwork for our modern understanding of Earth’s evolution and revolutionized the fledging science of geology. Now, as then, the geological map is what sets geology apart from other sciences. The map is a complex hybrid, being neither pure data nor entirely interpretation. There is no equivalent counterpart in experimental sciences, but neither is the geological map the product of pure observation. It is through geological mapping that we have come to understand Earth, and as our understanding of Earth has evolved, so has the map. But, as is demonstrated in this GSA Today article by Steven Whitmeyer of James Madison University and his colleagues, the geological map is also a product of technology, and the application of digital technology is currently revolutionizing geological mapping. They point to three key developments that have changed the way we map, what we can map, and what data we can depict: (1) free availability of GPS satellite signals, (2) the advent of affordable and ever more powerful mobile computers equipped with Geographic Information System (GIS) software, and (3) the universal availability of Web-based virtual globes (or geobrowsers). The consequence is that mapping can now be conducted while fully “wired,” allowing for all available data sets to be brought to bear on the map area. The resulting maps can include 3- and 4-D depictions of Earth, a development that sets the stage for yet another revolution in understanding Earth.


Posted in geologic mapping, magmatic minerals, plate kinematic, University of Otago, Venus | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Facebook, Security and Syphilis

Posted by feww on March 27, 2010

Facebook Linked to Syphilis Increase

Devastating social disease surging through social networking sites

‘Connect and Share.’ Facebook Homepage (partial image). Image [and the one-liner] may be subject to copyright.

Facebook is linked to a resurgence in syphilis, a potentially deadly sexually-transmitted disease, health experts say.

Cases of syphilis have increased fourfold in 3 areas of Britain where Facebook is most popular: Sunderland, Durham and Teesside.

Professor Peter Kelly, director of public health in Teesside, asserted that his staff had found a link between social networking sites like Facebook and the spread of the syphilis bacteria, especially among young females.

Vaginal syphilis (disturbing image). Mature readers may click to enlarge image.

This patient presented with a case of secondary syphilis manifested as perinal wart-like growths. This patient with secondary syphilis manifested perineal condylomata lata lesions, which presented as gray, raised papules that sometimes appear on the vulva or near the anus, or in any other warm intertriginous region. Source CDC. See also CDC Syphilis Fact Sheet

Professor Peter Kelly said:

“Syphilis is a devastating disease. Anyone who has unprotected sex with casual partners is at high risk.

“There has been a fourfold increase in the number of syphilis cases detected with more young women being affected.

“I don’t get the names of people affected, just figures, and I saw that several of the people had met sexual partners through these sites.

“Social networking sites are making it easier for people to meet up for casual sex.”

Some 30 cases of syphilis were recorded In Teesside last year,  however the true figures are thought to be much higher.

Young people in the three areas of Durham, Sunderland and Teesside were 25 per cent more likely to join social networking sites than the same age group in other parts of Britain, research shows.

Facebook said: “The assertion that Facebook is responsible for the transmission of syphilis is ridiculous. Facebook is no more responsible for STD transmission than newspapers responsible for bad vision. Today’s reports exaggerate the comments made by the professor, and ignore the difference between correlation and causation.

“As Facebook’s more than 400 million users know, our website is not a place to meet people for casual sex – it’s a place for friends, family and co-workers to connect and share.”


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochetal bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. Syphilis is transmitted almost always through sexual contact, a few cases of congenital syphilis via transmission from mother to child in utero have been recorded.

While syphilis is generally treatable with antibiotics, it can damage the aorta, bones, brain, eyes and heart, sometime fatally, if  left untreated.

Syphilis Bacteria: Treponema pallidum spirochetes

Histopathology showing Treponema pallidum spirochetes. Modified Steiner silver stain. Histopathology showing Treponema pallidum spirochetes in testis of experimentally infected rabbit. Modified Steiner silver stain. Syphilis. Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr.

A 23-year-old homosexual man had an intensely pruritic, papulonodular eruption over his arms and back. Dermatologic manifestations are the hallmark of secondary syphilis. Copper-red papules are most common, but macular, pustular, acneiform, psoriasiform, nodular, annular, or follicular variants can appear. The lesions characteristically do not itch, but as shown in the first patient, pruritus can be the dominant clinical feature.  Photo: Herbert L. Fred, MD, Hendrik A. van Dijk. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share

The Issue with Facebook is the risk to health and safety of your community. Google, on the other hand, is a major threat to the national security.

Related Links:

Posted in econdary syphilis, social disease, social networking sites, Treponema pallidum, Vaginal syphilis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Eyjafjöll Eruption – Images of the Day

Posted by feww on March 27, 2010

Hvannárgil Canyon Lava Fall

Photo Credit:
RAX /Ragnar Axelsson/via MBL. Image may be subject to copyright.

The Lava Fall.
Photo by Páll Stefánsson. Image may be subject to copyright.

Lava from  Fimmvörduháls crater on a mountain pass in south Iceland has changed direction the Hrunagil canyon into the Hvannárgil canyon forming a spectacular 100-meter high lava fall.

“There is a continuous flow of lava,” geophysicist Magnús Tumi Gudmundsson told Morgunbladid. The lava flow now extends to about one kilometer from the fissure.

Another Disappointing Image from NASA

A natural-color satellite image showing …  The image was acquired on March 24, 2010, by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Credit: NASA

Latest Videos

Technical information:

Webcams – Volcanoes in Iceland

Latest Images (RUV):

Related Headline News

Related Sites in Iceland (English)

Fire-Earth Links:

Posted in Eyjafjallajökull glacier, Eyjafjöll, iceland volcanoes, Icelandic volcano, volcanism | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Strong Quake Strikes ATACAMA, CHILE

Posted by feww on March 27, 2010

Earthquake Measuring up to 6.5Mw Strikes ATACAMA, CHILE

Strong earthquake measuring up to 6.5Mw struck ATACAMA, Northern Chile at a depth of about 45km on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 14:52 UTC.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Earthquake Location

The shock occurred about 62km (38 miles) north of the epicenter of a  magnitude 8.5 quake that struck immediately north of Vallenar at a depth of  25 km  on November 11 1922, AND 900km north of the 8.8Mw quake that struck near the coast of Chile on February 2010, which triggered a deadly tsunami that paralyzed the country and left at least 507 people dead and up to a million homeless.

Summary of Earthquake Details:

  • Maximum Magnitude: 6.5Mw (Fire-Earth Estimate)
  • Date time 2010-03-26 at 14:52:05.9 UTC
  • Location 27.99ºS ; 70.81ºW
  • Depth: ~ 45km
  • Distances
    • 81 km SW Copiapó (pop 129,280 ; local time 10:52 2010-03-26)
    • 65 km NW Vallenar (pop 44,895 ; local time 10:52 2010-03-26)
    • 225 km NNE of Coquimbo, Chile
    • 605 km N of SANTIAGO, Chile

Location Map – USGS – Enhanced by FEWW.

Political Map of Chile with the earthquake location marked.

Historic Earthquakes in Chile

Related Link:

Posted in chile, Coquimbo, earthquake, Earthquake Hazard, santiago | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NE U.S. Blizzard, Rainstorm GOES Movies

Posted by feww on March 26, 2010

Late winter rainstorms pummeled  NE U.S.

And the severe weather season hasn’t even begun yet!

The northeastern U.S. was pummeled by blizzards, swamped by heavy flooding, and battered by late winter storms. Two movies of the events were captured by NASA Satellite GOES-12 between February 1 and 16, and March 8 and 16, 2010.

This is a still image of the well-developed storm on March 15, 2010 at 2115 UTC (4:15 p.m. ET) the New England coast. Source: NASA GOES Project

“Following the Nor’easter ‘parade of blizzards’ in February this year, another week-long parade of storms flooded the upper Midwest and Northeastern U.S. in March,” said a NASA GOES Project official. “The merge of three storms in the Midwest was unusual, where the normal pattern is a series of spring storms carried by the prevailing westerlies (winds).”

“The movie was created by overlaying the clouds observed several times per hour by NOAA’s GOES Imager onto a true-color map previously derived from NASA’s Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land-mapping instrument. The infrared channels on GOES detect clouds day and night, which are portrayed as grey for low clouds and white for high clouds. The movie compresses nine days into two minutes. It illustrates how continental-scale land/sea/air phenomena come together to make large late winter storms.” NASA Website said.

“Heavy rains that hit the northeast cause flooding, fatalities, power outages and damages. Downed trees from rain-soaked roots toppled power lines. Outages were reported in Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Literally thousands of trees were reported felled in Connecticut and New York. Flooding forced evacuations and put roadways under water. As far north as Maine, parts of the state received more than eight inches of rain. ”

Total rainfall for the first 19 days of March:

  • Boston: 7.45″
  • Bridgeport, Conn: 4.02″
  • Newark, NJ: 5.24″
  • New York City: 4.72″
  • Portland, Maine: 3.57″ of rain.

Most of that rainfall was caused by the storms.

The link to the movies: (Unfortunately, the movie were available only in one format, MP4, as of posting.)

  1. GOES Movie of the Northeastern US Floods
  2. GOES Blizzard movie

    Note: The second movie linked to above, is a 2-minute movie compressed from GOES satellite data recorded February 1-16, 2010, capturing two blizzards which hit the Baltimore, Md. and Washington areas.

    During the first two weeks of February, Washington, DC,  was put out of action by two blizzards which dumped heavy wet snow as follows:

    • 5 inches fell on February 3
    • 24 inches fell on February 6
    • 12 inches on February 10.
    • A second, back-to-back storm followed on February 16 dumping 10 inches on Philadelphia and New York, but spared Washington and Baltimor.

    “These storms are called Nor’easters because the counter-clockwise circulation around a low pressure system on the Atlantic coast pushes moist sea air from the north-east into arctic air over the land. This windy mixture creates a very efficient snow-making machine from Boston to Washington. ‘The GOES movie illustrates how succeeding storms form along the Gulf coast, travel up the Atlantic coast, pause over the mid-Atlantic states, and finally slide out to sea,’ said a NASA official with GOES Project.” Source: NASA/EO website.

    Related Links:

    Posted in flooding, GOES satellite, NE rainstorm, Rainstorm, US blizzard | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Philadelphia: Public Health Prevails Over Private Wealth

    Posted by feww on March 26, 2010


    Philadelphia urges ban on hydraulic fracturing technique, or ‘fracking’

    Philadelphia officials asked the Delaware River Basin Commission on Thursday to stop prospectors using the hydraulic fracture (fracking) shale gas extractions in the City’s watershed, until a full environmental impact assessment is conducted.

    The commission, which comprises of representatives from Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as federal officials, is responsible for protecting the Delaware River Basin over 360 miles from its headwaters all the way to the Delaware Bay.

    Map Of Shale Gas Basins In The United States. Click image to enlarge.

    The Middle Delaware River above Walpack Bend. Credit: NPS/George Ratliff

    Background: Natural Gas Drilling in the Delaware River Basin

    Much of the new drilling interest taking place in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York is targeted at reaching the natural gas found in the Marcellus Shale formation, which underlies about 36 percent of the Delaware River Basin.  Because Marcellus Shale is considered a tight geologic formation, natural gas deposits were not previously thought to be practically and economically mineable using traditional techniques.  New horizontal drilling and extraction methods, coupled with higher energy costs, have given energy companies reason to take a new interest in mining the natural gas deposits within the Marcellus Shale.

    However, these new extraction methods require large amounts of fresh water to fracture the formation to release the natural gas.  A significant amount of water used in the extraction process is recovered, but this “frac water” includes natural gas and chemicals added to facilitate the extraction process, as well as brine and other contaminants released from the formation. —DRBC

    The City Council, in a unanimous resolution, has formally asked the Commission to stop all fracking operations in the watershed and deny a drilling permit to Stone Energy Corp, a Louisiana-based energy company prospecting for natural gas, and all others that propose to use fracking to extract shale gas in the Basin which  supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people, including 2 million plus in the Philadelphia metro area.

    “Stone Energy began operations in a protected area of the river basin without the necessary approvals, and now has applied for permits to drill for gas, extracting water it needs from a tributary of the river, the council said.” Reuters reported.

    “We call on the Delaware River Basin Commission to halt Stone Energy’s operations, and not approve their application, or any other applications, until a full environmental impact assessment of fracking in the Delaware River Basin has been conducted,” the council said in a unanimous resolution.

    A glass of water taken from a residential well after the start of natural gas drilling in Dimock, Pennsylvania, March 7, 2009. Dimock is one of hundreds of sites in Pennsylvania where energy companies are now racing to tap the massive Marcellus Shale natural gas formation. But some residents say the drilling has clouded their drinking water, sickened people and animals and made their wells flammable. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Stone Energy

    Stone Energy spokesperson, Tim O’Leary, was reported as saying that fracking posed no danger to the drinking water in the region.

    “Stone Energy believes that hydraulic fracturing technologies are a safe and proven method of accessing ample domestic sources of clean natural gas needed by the United States,” O’Leary said.

    “Concern about possible ground water contamination from hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ has led New York City to call on state authorities to prevent drilling in the city watershed. U.S. Congress members have introduced a bill that would require energy companies to disclose chemicals they use in fracking.” The report said.

    “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has expressed ‘serious reservations’ about the prospect of fracking in the New York City watershed, said on March 18 it will conduct a national study of the process.”

    “I knew the responsible thing to do was to send a strong message that drilling should not occur without an environmental impact statement,” said Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who sponsored the resolution.

    “Energy companies exploiting vast reserves of shale gas in Pennsylvania and other states say there has never been a proven case of water contamination from fracking, and that the toxic chemicals are injected through layers of steel and concrete thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers.” The report added.

    The energy companies clearly aren’t telling the truth!

    ‘Diarrhea water’

    Fire Earth had earlier noted that

    In Dimock, Pennsylvania, drilling for natural gas has clouded the drinking water, sickened people and animals and made their wells flammable.

    EPA admits water contaminated near gas-drilling sites

    Now, for the first time ever, EPA scientists have revealed that drinking water wells  near natural gas [and oil] drilling operations contain chemical contaminants. They found dangerous chemicals in the water from 11 of 39 wells tested near the Wyoming town of Pavillion in March and May 2009.  Unfortunately, their report  falls shy of concluding what causes the contamination, though it admits the gas drilling is a potential source.

    Kudos to Residents of Dimock, Pennsylvania

    Residents of Dimock, a small rural Pennsylvania town, have sued Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, claiming the company’s natural-gas drilling has contaminated their wells with deadly chemicals, causing sickness and reducing their property values

    Related Links:

    Posted in Delaware River Basin, fracking, hydraulic fracturing, shale gas, watershed | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Big Oil Hires Top Environmental Assassins

    Posted by feww on March 26, 2010

    John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman Hired by Drillers

    Oil companies and industry groups have summoned the three Senators to instruct them on how to re-write the long-awaited climate and energy bill.

    ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell Oil Co are demanding that states, rather than federal government, regulate shale gas drilling methods because they know it’s cheaper to buy state officials. States are known to be more lenient on allowing hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which pollutes the water.

    The big oil want a bill their way and they want it now.

    “Within a couple weeks after the Easter break we hope to unveil a bill,” said the ever-complying Graham.

    Lieberman, on the other hand, wants to dress the bill as even more environmental-friendly as the Big Oil have you believe.  He is aiming to have the bill introduced on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22. He gets a kick out of that sort of things!

    “The longer we’ve talked about it, the more momentum we’ve gotten, but that won’t last forever, so we need to bring this thing to a conclusion,” Graham said.

    Water Contamination from Shale Gas Drilling. Source. Image may be subject to copyright.
    The major concern with shale gas drilling is the chemicals used in the process. Because the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, shale gas drillers don’t have to disclose what chemicals they use.”  Gas drilling companies maintain that the gas drilling technique they use, called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is safe. However, based on observation of the drinking water in numerous drilling areas, and the fate of many people who live near the drilling rigs, who are afflicted with serious health conditions, we know that fracking contaminates groundwater with dangerous chemicals.

    Meanwhile, ten Senators from coastal states issued a statement Thursday saying they won’t support a climate and energy bill if it permits a large expansion of offshore oil and natural gas drilling. [How large is a little expansion?]

    “Kerry, the lead proponent of the bill, needs every vote he can get as it will likely face opposition from lawmakers in states whose economies depend heavily on fossil fuels.” Reuters said.

    The oil companies are demanding that information concerning the chemical composition of fracking fluids should be kept secret and  revealed  to doctors or health officials only when necessary to save human life.

    Further, the oil industry is pushing for large scale expansions in offshore drilling in the bill.

    “Bruce Josten, a vice president at the Chamber of Commerce, told reporters he understood that the offshore oil part of the bill would set up two levels for states to say whether they want to participate in expanded oil drilling.” Reuters reported.

    “The first would give states the opportunity to say whether they wanted to have new offshore oil drilling from their coasts up to 35 miles out.”

    “A second level would let them veto drilling from 35 to 75 miles out, but Josten said this was still in discussion stages and he has not seen specific legislative language on any proposals.”

    The House of Representatives passed a climate bill in June 2009, which heavily relies on the doomed carbon emissions trade system, however the bill has little support to pass in the Senate.

    Related Links:

    Posted in Diarrhea water, Energy bill, fracking, offshore Drilling, shale gas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Cyclone ULUI Rainfall Map

    Posted by feww on March 26, 2010

    ULUI dumped more than 180 mm of rain along its path

    TRMM’s rainfall estimates for the 1-week period March 15 to 22, 2010 for the central east coast of Queensland, Australia show that ULUI dumped more than 180 mm (~7 inches) of rain along its path. Source: SSAI/NASA. Click image to enlarge.

    Cyclone ULUI was formed near Vanuatu in the South Pacific and reached a Category 5 strength with sustained winds of about 260 km/hr as it moved south of Solomon Islands. ULUI struck Whitsunday Islands, off the Australian coast, on March 21, 2010 at about 1:30 am local time with Category 3A hurricane strength (see FEWW New Hurricane Scale).

    Related Links:

    Posted in Cyclone ULUI, Flood Map of Queensland, rainfall australia, TRMM ULUI, ULUI rainfall | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Eyjafjöll Eruption – LATEST

    Posted by feww on March 26, 2010

    Latest available images of Eyjafjöll eruption

    The following images pertain to Iceland’s 0.5-km long volcanic fissure on the northern side of Fimmvörðuháls, east of the Eyjafjallajökull ice cap, which began erupting on March 20, 2010.


    Lava flow map 1, March 22, 2010. For credit see inset. Click image to enlarge.

    Lava flow map 2, March 24, 2010. For credit see inset. Click image to enlarge.

    Aerial photo of Fimmvörðuháls on Eyjafjallajökull, 22nd March 2010, between 8 and 9 o’clock. Steam is caused by lava melting snow. © Ólafur Sigurjónsson

    From Heljarkambur, looking down into Hrunagil, 22nd March 2010 at 16:00. Lava flows into the gully. The snow is covered with ash. Photo: Einar Kjartansson. Image may be subject to copyright. Source: Icelandic Met Office

    Hrunagil 15th July 2007, just south of Heljarkambur. Mudcovered ice at the bottom of the gully. Photo: Einar Kjartansson.  Image may be subject to copyright. Source: Icelandic Met Office.

    The new mountain rises behind the crater. Photo by Páll Stefánsson. (Undated, but cover story published on March 26, 2010.) Source: Iceland Review. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Automatic Earthquake Location Map of Iceland.  Most of the recent seismic activity has occurred near the  Eyjafjallajokull Glacier, with a few shock occurring close to the position of Katla, which is buried under the Myrdalsjökull icecap.  ©The Icelandic Meteorological Office


    More Detailed Information:

    Related Links:

    Iceland Review (Online Publication in English)

    Related Icelandic Institution

    Posted in Eyjafjöll, Eyjafjöll volcano, volcanism, volcano, volcano eruprted | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

    Massive Eruption at Soufriere Hills Volcano

    Posted by feww on March 25, 2010

    The Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat ejects a large plume of ash up to 12km into the air

    Passengers on a 737 jet flying over the Caribbean had a close-up look at a massive volcanic eruption which ejected a plume of ash and smoke higher than the flight altitude. Early reports indicate that a partial collapse of the volcano’s lava dome may have caused the mushroom cloud.  (Image: Mary Jo Penkala/Solent). Image may be subject to copyright.

    A massive eruption of Montserrat’s Soufrière Hills Volcano triggered by a collapse of Soufrière Hills’ summit lava dome  covered large portions of the island in debris on February 11, 2010. Pyroclastic flows raced down the northern flank of the volcano, leveling trees and destroying buildings in the village of Harris, already abandoned after Soufrière Hills activity in 1995. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory reported that some flows, about 15 meters (49 feet) thick, reached the sea at Trant’s Bay, extending the island’s coastline up to 650 meters (2,100 feet). These false-color satellite images show the southern half of Montserrat before and after the dome collapse. The top image was taken on February 21, 2010, 10 days after the event. The bottom image shows the same area on March 17, 2007. Red areas are vegetated, clouds are white, blue/black areas are ocean water, and gray areas are covered by flow deposits. Fresh deposits are lighter than older deposits. On February 21, the drainages leading down from Soufrière Hills, including the White River Valley, the Tar River Valley, and the Belham River Valley, were filled with fresh debris. Pyroclastic flows reached the sea through Aymers Ghaut on January 18, 2010, and flows entered the sea near Plymouth on February 5, 2010, Montserrat Volcano Observatory said.

    Related Links:

    Note: Links to Montserrat Volcano Observatory have been removed because the site is used for commercial advertising and promotion of tourism.

    Related Links:

    Posted in Soufriere Hills erupts, volcanism, volcano | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »