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Archive for April 4th, 2010

M7.3 Quake Hits Baja, Kills One

Posted by feww on April 4, 2010

Serial No  1,535. If any posts are blocked in your country, please drop us a line.

California Seismicity Rising

The San Andreas Fault Zone [and extensions] has never before come so close to a violent major fragmentation.

Powerful earthquake measuring up to 7.3Mw strikes Baja California, Mexico, killing at least one

The quake located at 32.128°N, 115.303°W, about 60 km (38 miles) SSE (165°) from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, occurred on Sunday, April 04, 2010 at 03:40:40 PM (time at epicenter), and at a depth of about 10km.

As of 00:26UTC at least a dozen aftershocks have struck the area, the largest of which measured 5.8 and 5.7Mw respectively.  Additional shocks will follow.

Large swarms of minor shocks have been occurring in Guadalupe Victoria over the last month or so.

The earthquake shook building in San Diego, Phoenix, AZ, and Downtown Los Angeles, some 320km (~ 200 miles) northwest of the epicenter. Eye-witnesses described the shaking as “unbelievable” and “surreal” noting that some building towers were swaying for over a minute after the shock spread. The effect may have been due to the shallow depth of the shock, which occurred at an estimated depth of about 10km (+/- 2.5km).

Latest Casualty Report

“One person died when a house in Mexicali collapsed, Alfredo Escobedo, director of emergency services in Baja California state, Mexico, told Reuters. He said others were reported trapped in elevators, retaining walls had collapsed in some places and electricity was out in several parts of the state.” Reuters reported.

The quake also caused a two-story parking garage next to the Mexicali government headquarters to collapse, injuring several others, according to another report.

Local media in Mexicali report that about a dozen people are still trapped in their homes.

Tsunami Information

According to various tsunami centers, NO destructive tsunami was generated as a result of the quake.

Northern California

An earthquake measuring 4.0Mw  Northern California at 3:49 pm Sunday (local time). The epicenter was located about 25 miles north of Santa Rosa, a report said.

Reader’s Comment:

In response to a reader’s comment, a Fire-Earth Moderator likened  California region to a lake covered with a thin layer of ice, which was frequented by too many full-time ice skaters.

Location Map. Source: EMS. Click image to enlarge.

Summary of Earthquake Details (EMSC)

  • Magnitude:  Mw 7.0 Region: BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
  • Date time:  2010-04-04 at 22:40:47.7 UTC
  • Location: 32.38 N ; 115.04 W
  • Depth: 10 km
  • Distances (USGS)
    • 26 km (16 miles) SW (225°) from Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico
    • 60 km (38 miles) SSE (165°) from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
    • 62 km (38 miles) SW (233°) from San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico
    • 167 km (104 miles) ESE (105°) from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    • 173 km (108 miles) ESE (106°) from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

10-degree Map Centered at 30°N,115°W

Earthquake Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP (earlier map with incorrect data)

Earthquake Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP (Later map with correction made). Color code changed by Fire-Earth Moderators from navy to fluorescent blue for improved visibility. Click image to enlarge.

Earthquake Details (USGS) – [Corrected]

  • Magnitude: 7.2
  • Date-Time:
    • Sunday, April 04, 2010 at 22:40:40 UTC
    • Sunday, April 04, 2010 at 03:40:40 PM at epicenter
  • Location: 32.128°N, 115.303°W
  • Depth: 10 km (6.2 miles) (poorly constrained)
  • Distances:
    • 26 km (16 miles) SW (225°) from Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico
    • 60 km (38 miles) SSE (165°) from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
    • 62 km (38 miles) SW (233°) from San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico
    • 167 km (104 miles) ESE (105°) from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
  • Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 2.4 km (1.5 miles); depth +/- 31.6 km (19.6 miles)
  • Parameters Nph= 13, Dmin=70 km, Rmss=0.28 sec, Gp=259°, M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=2
  • Source:   California Integrated Seismic Net –  USGS Caltech CGS UCB UCSD UNR
  • Event ID: ci14607652

Location Map

Source: USGS/EHP. Click image to enlarge.

Seismic Hazard Map

ShakeMap (USGS)

Population Exposure (USGS)

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Posted in earthquake, Guadalupe, Mexicali quake, Sonora, Tijuana quake | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

UNSG Calls Aral Sea “Shocking Disaster”

Posted by feww on April 4, 2010

Serial No  1,534. If any posts are blocked in your country, please drop us a line.

As if he spent the last half century sleeping, UN’s Secretary General is suddenly awoken to the  “shocking disaster” of dying Aral Sea

The Aral Sea is an endorheic basin located in Central Asia shared between Kazakhstan  in the north and Uzbekistan, in the south.

Map of Aral Sea. Source: World Bank.

Once described as the world’s fourth largest lake, fed by two major rivers of Amu Darya in the south, and the Syr Darya in the north,  Aral Sea spanned an area of about  70,000 km² with a total volume of more than 1 trillion cubic meters  (1,000 cubic km) in 1960. The bountiful sea provided annual catches of about 50,000 tons without fail.  The scenic deltas of its major tributaries, dotted with dozens of smaller lakes, were rich wetlands and marshes teeming with life, covering an area larger than half a million hectares.

It reduced to a pond measuring about 8% of its original size in 2007, and split into three lakes: North Aral Sea, and the two heavily shrunk eastern and western basins of the South Aral Sea.

The south-eastern lake completely disappeared last year, leaving behind the south-western lake, now a thin strip of shallow water. (See image).

Aral Sea captured by MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite –  true-color image dated March 26, 2010. A plume of dust blows from the sediments of the South Aral Sea toward the southeast, along the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan border. Northeast of the plume, two red outlines indicate hotspots associated with fires.The lakebed sediments, prone to forming dust plumes, have become a repository for salt, fertilizers, and pesticides and pose a threat to human health in the region. Source: Nasa/Modis website.

Two images of Aral Sea. L: 2008. R:1989.  Source: Nasa

This natural-color satellite image shows the Aral Sea on August 16, 2008. The colored contour lines show the approximate shorelines of the sea since 2000. The image is from the MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The contour lines are based on MODIS data. The image documents the progress of a conservation plan to stabilize the North Aral Sea, and the continued decline of the South Aral Sea. Deeper, clearer waters are darker blue; shallower, murkier waters are greenish. Source: Nasa

Ban Ki Moon – In his Role as a Representative for Big Oil

“I was so shocked, [the dying Aral Sea is] clearly one of the worst environmental disasters in the world.”  Ban said after viewing the sea by helicopter, Reuters reported.

[You mean you lived for 67 years and made it it to the top of the UN without learning about the Aral Sea?]

UNSG is currently touring five former Soviet republics in Central Asia “that lie on some of the world’s biggest untapped oil, gas, uranium and gold reserves.” The report said.

Ban is now reduced to an agent for the oil industry using the old trick “poor people, rich resources, why not explore?”

“I urge all the leaders (of Central Asia), including President (Islam ) Karimov of Uzbekistan to sit down together and try to find solutions,” said Ban, before a meeting with the Uzbek leader.

“All specialized agencies of the United Nations will provide necessary assistance and expertise,” he said.

Posted in Amu Darya, Aral Sea, Kazakhstan, Syr Darya, Uzbekistan | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Another Oil Leak Nightmare Made in Australia

Posted by feww on April 4, 2010

Serial No  1,533. If any posts are blocked in your country, please drop us a line.

Australia Scores Yet Another Double Whammy

Chinese-registered bulk coal carrier runs aground Great Barrier Reef leaking oil.

Shen Neng I, a 230-meter (754-ft) ship on its way to China, ran aground on a shoal on Saturday, with 950 metric tons of heavy fuel oil on board, officials said, Reuters reported.

Oil is leaking from the Chinese bulk coal carrier Shen Neng I, about 70 km  east of Great Keppel Island April 4, 2010. Credit:Maritime Safety Queensland/Handout/ via Reuters

The authorities said patches of oil had been spotted in the water, near where the ship ran aground.

“Early morning flights over the carrier show a small number of oil patches about two nautical miles southeast from the ship. To date there has been no major loss of oil from the ship,” Queensland’s state government said.

The  ship was carrying 65,000 metric tons of coal from the port of Gladstone in Queensland to China.

Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier,  was concerned the ship could  break up. This time, her fears are fully justified. It would take a miracle for the ship NOT to break up!

“We are now very worried we might see further oil discharged from this ship,” she was reported as saying.

“It is in danger of actually breaking a number of its main structures and breaking into a number of parts,” said Patrick Quirk, general manager of Maritime Safety Queensland.

By far the most prophetic comment, however, came from Capricorn Conservation Council spokesman Ian Herbert, who reportedly  told the Australian Associated Press: “We can be certain that this is a sign of things to come.”

“We are outraged that no marine pilot is required on ships between Gladstone and Cairns,” he said.

“A year ago, Moreton Island, yesterday Great Keppel Island, next year — who knows where?” Herbert said referring to two of Australia’s oil pollutions.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, world’s largest coral reef system,  is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland,  northeast Australia. It’s made up of nearly 3,000 separate  reefs and about 1,000 islands that extend over 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) covering an area of about 350,000 square kilometers (135,000 sq miles).

The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s, the world’s, marine and climatic life insurance policies.

This nadir true-color image was acquired by the MISR instrument on August 26, 2000 (Terra orbit 3679), and shows part of the southern portion of the reef adjacent to the central Queensland coast. The width of the MISR swath is approximately 380 kilometers, with the reef clearly visible up to approximately 200 kilometers from the coast. If you retrieve the higher resolution version, a zoomed display reveals the spectacular structure of the many reefs.
Source: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR . Click image to enlarge. Full-Res (JPEG): PIA03401.jpg (414 kB)

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ)

MSQ general manager Patrick Quirk said the ship was badly damaged on its port side (left side).

“We are still very concerned about the ship. It is in danger of actually breaking a number of its main structures and breaking into a number of parts,” he said.

The Double Whammy?

Just imagine the combined impact of a massive oil spill and humongous avalanche of toxic coal on the fragile reefs, and marine life…

Just how much more dirty energy before you say enough is enough?

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Posted in Australian Coal, Capricorn Conservation Council, Great Barrier Reef, oil spill | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »