Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Archive for April, 2010

Taiwan Massive Landslide Buries 6-Lane Freeway

Posted by feww on April 26, 2010

The earth and rocks avalanche blocks a 6-lane  freeway over a 300-meter stretch

“A hill ahead suddenly moved and crashed down on the road within five seconds, said entertainer Chen Mei-feng in an interview with cable station Formosa Television. She was traveling in a car approaching the scene of the landslide.” ETaiwanNews reported.


A massive landslide buried a 300-m stretch of the No. 3 Freeway between Taipei and Keelung. Photo. Taiwan News. Image may be subject to copyright.

The landslide reportedly blocked a 300-meter long of a major road, the No.3 Freeway between Taipei and Keelung earlier today, burying an unknown  number of vehicles under thousands of tons of earth and rocks.

“At 2:33 p.m., the hill slid down at the 3.1-kilometer mark from the northern end, just north of the Chitu toll station, and took down an overpass, Keelung Mayor Chang Tung-jung told reporters.”

The 6-lane Freeway, said to be 100 meters (328 feet) wide, was completely covered by the landslide  over a distance of 300 meters (984 feet).

“The military sent about 200 soldiers to help with relief work, while 36 excavators and 37 trucks arrived at the scene to work through the night, officials said.”

“Experts were still guessing for reasons for the landslide, because there was no earthquake and no rain reported in the area at the time. Media described the incident as the biggest accident on a Taiwanese freeway in 30 years.” The report said. More on this developing news …

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Posted in Landslide, Taiwan | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Images of the Day: Okinawa, Thailand, Philippines

Posted by feww on April 26, 2010

100,000 Protest US Base on Okinawa


About 100,000 people rallied on the island of Okinawa Sunday to protest continued presence a US air base. The protest was led by the prefecture’s governor and many of the mayors, who demanded the Prime Minister to make good on his election promise of shutting down the Futema Marine Corps Air Station. Photo: Kyodo News Agency/ via AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Battleground Bangkok


Pedestrians walk past the barricade erected by an anti-government ‘red shirt’ protesters, built with bamboo poles and tires and decorated with red flags and the Thai national flag, in the Silom business district in Bangkok April 25, 2010. The protesters encamped for weeks in central Bangkok promised more aggressive measures after the government rejected their proposals to end increasingly violent protests in return for early polls. Credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard. Image may be subject to copyright.

Poverty in the Philippines


A massive blaze gutted shanty houses in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila. Fueled by scorching heat and fanned by strong winds the fire destroyed at least 300 homes and left about 7,000 people homeless. Photo: Aaron Favila/Associated Press. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in Bangkok, Kadena Air Base, okinawa, Quezon City, thailand | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lava finally flows from Icelandic scientific band

Posted by feww on April 25, 2010

Lava flows northwards from the Eyjafjallajökull crater, melting the glacial ice: Report

The local experts do not believe large-scale flooding could occur from the melt water, but then again …

Oh, and if you are wondering why everyone in Iceland is suddenly speaking about lava flow in the past tense, you’re not alone. The rascals didn’t tell anyone lava had started flowing 4 days ago!

Notice: The following updates were issued by various Icelandic organizations. Unlike the govt organizations in the US, nearly all of the  information broadcast by government organizations and educational outlets in Iceland and most European countries may be subject to copyright. If your use of their data goes beyond the educational use/ fair use, be sure to contact the authors for copyright clarification/ permission.

Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management -Media team

Specialists from the Institute of the Earth Sciences (http://www.earthice.hi.is/ ) and the Icelandic Meteorological Office (http://www.vedur.is) flew over the eruption site in Eyjafjallajökull late yesterday. The lava flow seems to be of similar volume as in recent days (20-40 tons per second). The quantity of the volcanic plume is slowly decreasing. The flow of lava is most likely to have started near noon on April 21 when water started flowing continuously from Gígjökull. Steam plumes rose from the northern edges of the caldera after noon on that day and could be seen from a helicopter. Deflation associated with the volcanic tremor was noticed at the same time. There are no signs of melting or flow of water to the south. There are also no indications that the eruption is coming to an end.

There are still disruptions in domestic and international flights, according to information from ISAVIA, and passengers are therefore strongly advised to seek further information from air carriers and at: http://www.textavarp.is/ .

Icelandic Met Office Report

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

Indications of lava flow to the north – 25 April 11:30

Yesterday evening, geophysicists from the Institute of the Earth Sciences found indications of lava flow from the eruption site. The risk of sudden melt water flow is, however, minor. Following is their description:

“North of crater a roughly 300 m long and wide depression has been melted out in the last three days. Steam plumes rise from the depression, especially at the margins. This is explained by lava flowing northwards from the crater with the steam rising where lava meets ice … Flow of lava is considered to have begun around noon on Wednesday 21 April.”

Icelandic Meteorological Office and Institute of Earth Sciences, UoI

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull – status report 25 April 2010 at 1800

Eruption plume:
Height( a.s.l):  Unknown, not seen above cloud cover at 5.3 km.
Heading:  NW
Tephra fallout:  Minor (light fallout detected at two farms 10 km NW of vents)

Conditions at eruption site: Overall activity similar as yesterday.  Eruption seen from west in the morning – north crater still active.  External water has not affected vent activity much since 18 April.  Geologists field observations (2-10 km from vents) show that explosivity is magmatic and that the tephra produced since 18 April is much coarser than during first four days.  Explosions heard at Fljótshlíð, 10-15 km NW of vents.   Meltwater discharge suggest similar lava activity.  Processing of data obtained yesterday shows that lava had advanced 400-500 m northwards from crater, forming an ice depression extending some 700 m from vents.

Overall assessment:  Magma flow rate has remained at similar level over the last few days.  Plume activity is gradually declining.  Flow continues flowing towards north.  No signs of melting or meltwater discharge towards south.  No signs of termination of eruption.Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull – status report 24 April 2010 at 1700
Eruption plume: Height( a.s.l): 13000 feet (4 km)
Tephra fallout: Minor (plume dark but no reports of fallout in districts around volcano)
Meltwater: 100-120 m3/s, based on gauge at old Markarfljót bridge and a rough estimate of base flow.
GPS deformation: Indicates slow subsidence towards the center of the volcano.
Magma flow: Eruption plume: less or equal to 10 tonnes/s.
Lava flow: 10-30 tonnes/s
Total magma flow: 20-40 tonnes/s

For additional details see: Institute of the Earth Sciences

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Posted in eyjafjalla, Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull glacier, eyjafjallajoekull volcano, Eyjafjöll, Iceland volcano, Icelandic volcano | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Louisiana Coast Oil Leak Disaster Underway

Posted by feww on April 25, 2010

Offshore Louisiana Well: “very serious spill”

Oil Well Beneath Sunken Deepwater Horizon Leaking 1,000 BPD

We thought it was a fairy tale as far as the capping of the well story went …

The oil well that was being pumped out by the doomed Deepwater Horizon oil rig is spewing crude oil at a rate of 1,000 barrels per day (bpd),  the U.S. Coast Guard said on Saturday.

[Note: 1,000 barrels = 42,000 US gallons, or ~ 160,000 liters]

The well, located on the ocean floor, some 1,500m (~5,000 feet) beneath the ocean surface,  is causing what the Coast Guard called a “very serious spill.”

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said a  remote-controlled submarine detected oil leaking from both the riser and drill pipe.

“We are classifying this as a very serious spill and we are using all our resources to help contain it,” the Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Terrell said.

The ill-fated Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean Ltd and operated by the oil Goliath BP, sank on Thursday. The rig had been burning for two days after exploding  at about 10 p.m. CDT on Tuesday (02:00UTC Wednesday), about 66km (~ 41 miles) off the Louisiana.

The search for 11 crew members was abandoned on Friday. Four of the 17 crew members who were injured were said to be in critical condition.

As of Sunday an oil slick measuring about 1,600 square kilometers (~ 600 square miles), covered an area close to the US coast line. The slick is spreading north moving toward Mississippi and Alabama coastline, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

On Saturday Fire-Earth Moderators said: “This situation, of course, could change because oil wells gushing at a rate of 8,000 barrels per day don’t heal automatically after a fire.”

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Posted in gulf of mexico, Gulf of Mexico Exploration, Gulf of Mexico oil Spill, offsore drilling | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Giant Tornado Kills at least 10 in Mississippi

Posted by feww on April 25, 2010

Death, Devastation, “Utter Obliteration”

“It has done huge damage around Yazoo City.” —Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour

A mile-wide tornado ripped through central Mississippi, killing at least 10 people, trapping many more  in their homes, destroying hundreds of buildings and causing “utter obliteration” in parts of Yazoo County.


Tornado Touches down in Mississippi. Freeze frame from an AP news video.

“We have fatalities, a number of people that we’re still trying to rescue who are trapped in buildings. But it is a major, significant tornado … and it did some huge damage and perhaps some fatalities north of here,” Barbour said, calling the damage “utter obliteration.”

“We still have people trapped in houses and cars,” said a teary-eyed Barbour. “It reminds me of [Hurricane] Katrina.”

The tornado left a 6-mile-wide swath of destruction stretching from the Eagle Lake community in northern Vicksburg to Yazoo City and into Holmes County, leaving  homes, businesses, schools and churches reduced to piles of  rubble. The cost of damage in Yazoo County alone could easily top $10million.

The first major tornado of the year struck 15 counties, prompting Governor Barbour to declare a state of emergency.

Five people were killed in Choctaw County, including two children, four in Yazoo County and one in Holmes County, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn was reported as saying.

“This sucker is leaving a path of destruction,” Flynn said, adding that  the tornado had jumped the Mississippi River into Mississippi just before noon.

“It caused a bunch of damage in Louisiana. Then it strengthened when it got into Issaquena.” He said.

“This sucker is leaving a path of destruction,” Flynn said.

Two waves of heavy storms struck the region between 8:00a.m.  and midday central time. The second wave was the more destructive one.

Tornadoes also struck Alabama Arkansas and Louisiana, and the severe weather is moving eastward.

National Weather Service Doppler Radar detected a persistent band of strong thunderstorms moving from Cartersville to Lindale to Cave Spring and further southwest into Alabama at about 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Severe Storms Forecast

Weather Hazard Warning Map – NWS


An Outbreak of Severe Thunderstorms Including Strong Tornadoes Is Expected Over Parts of the Mid-South, Central Gulf Coast States And Tennessee Valley this Afternoon and Evening. The NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman OK is forecasting the development of a few strong, long-track tornadoes over parts of the Mid-South, Central Gulf Coast States and Tennessee Valley this afternoon and evening. This is a particularly dangerous situation. Click image for UPDATE and Details.

Damage in Louisiana

Complex Chemicals Co., a plant in Tallulah, La, was destroyed by a tornado, which also reduced 12 houses to a pile of splinters on Saturday, damaging many other buildings.

“Madison Parish Sheriff’s Maj. Neil Horath says a dozen people suffered broken bones, cuts or other injuries, and deputies had to clear fallen trees from several yards so people could get out of their houses. But he says nobody was seriously hurt.” AP reported.


Alberta Harris points to her Mississippi neighbour’s home where she and others helped rescue a bed-ridden man after a tornado struck on Saturday.  Photo: Brian Albert Broom/Associated Press. Image may be subject to copyright.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service reported that at least two tornadoes had touched down Thursday afternoon south and east of Denver.
A house in Aurora was struck by lightening and caught fire.

“Hail pelted parts of the metro area and blanketed the ground and roads east of Denver. Storms caused street flooding and temporarily knocked out power in parts of cities north of Denver.” AP reported.

Based on the recent climatic trends, Fire-Earth Moderators forecast a severe tornado season in 2010, which could prove exceptionally costly, both in human losses and property damage.

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Posted in Issaquena, Mississippi, Tornado, yazoo | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 24 April

Posted by feww on April 24, 2010

Comparative Calm Before Explosive Storm?

A Powerful Earthquake May Strike Iceland

The Plume at Eyjafjallajökull Rises to a Height of about 7,000m Sporadically, Idling Mostly at 4,000m

Fire Earth Moderators believe the volcano is spewing more ash than it did 2-3 days ago, despite the local reports.


Webcam at Valahnúk. Image recorded at 13:15UTC on April 24, 2010. Click Image to enlarge.


Hvolsvelli View [best image available all day from the webcam. Reduced visibility caused  by volcanic ash, fumes, dust and clouds.]

Icelandic mat office said:

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland -Update on activity
Little changes – 24 April 2010 11:15

Volcanic tremor has been similar as the last 2-3 days.
Ash fall may be expected to the west and northwest from the eruption, minor in the Reykjavik area.
Water level in Markarfljót river is slightly higher than yesterday.

The Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, Media team, released the following bulletin earlier today:

News Release, 24 April 2010, 06:30

According to the Hvolsvöllur police, this was a quiet night. A little ash has fallen on Hvolsvöllur, and it is visible as a very fine dust on cars. The Weather Bureau expects strong winds from the northeast and the east along the southern coast, elsehwhere the winds will be softer and there will not be much precipitation. The ashen mist will probably move to the west and the northwest of the volcano, even reaching Reykjavík, but only in slight quantities

In a news release from the Chief Epidemiologist yesterday, it appears that wen ash mist occurs, or an increase in suspended particulates in the atmosphere, those who suffer from a dormant heart og lung disease are advised to remain indoors, but there is no call for using masks. It is expected that the eruption-related suspended particulates pollution in the capital area might be close to a similar pollution caused by traffic, and the warnings issued by health authorities will be in accordance with such pollution. The public should keep track of news and information and instruction on the websites of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, http://www.almannavarnir.is, and of the Environment Agency, http://www.ust.is .

According to information from the airports, air traffic is limited to and from Keflavík, Reykjavík and Akureyri at the moment. No IFR-permissions are issued for Akureyri Airport, but the Egilsstaðir Airport is open to all flight traffic. Further information will be released later this morning.

The information centre for the media at Hvolsvöllur (tel. 847-4846) will remain open during he week-end. A press representative will be there, but there will be no meeting with specialists at 8 am. On the other hand, such meetings will be held at the information centre in Skógarhlíð from 08:00 til 09:00 am, Saturday and Sunday. Today, geophysicist Sigurlaug Hjaltadóttir, from Iceland Weather Bureau, Árni Snorrason, director of the Weather Bureau, and Árni Birgisson, director of the airport and guiding dept. of  Isavia, will answer questions conveyed by the media and press agents.

Detailed Map of eruption Site [The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center]


Click on image to get larger map (pdf-file)
Prepared by: Ásta Rut Hjartardóttir (astahj@hi.is), Páll Einarsson (palli@hi.is)

See also

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Posted in eyjafjalla, Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull eruption, Eyjafjallajökull glacier, Eyjafjöll, Iceland volcano, Icelandic volcano | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Strong Quake Strikes KEPULAUAN OBI, INDONESIA

Posted by feww on April 24, 2010

Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake Strikes KEPULAUAN OBI, INDONESIA

Strong earthquake measuring 6.4Mw Struck about 205 north of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia, just south of the equator.

The earthquake was centered at 128.22°E, 1.85°S  and occurred at a depth of about 41km on Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 07:41:02 UTC.

NO tsunami warning/advisory was issued, and as of posting there was no report of damage or casualties.

Indonesian islands sit atop numerous fault line, which make the region one of the most seismically active areas on the planet. See below for a list of the quake in the region.

GFZ Potsdam – Earthquake Bulletin

  • Region: Halmahera, Indonesia
  • Time: 2010-04-24 07:41:03.2 UTC
  • Magnitude: 6.1 [ Indonesia's Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics Agency, BMG, recorded the quake as a 6.4Mw]
  • Epicenter: 128.22°E 1.85°S
  • Depth: 41 km
  • Status: manually revised


© Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum – GFZ

Approximate Distances [USGS/EHP]:

  • 205 km (125 miles) N of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia
  • 305 km (190 miles) SSE of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia
  • 1215 km (750 miles) NNW of DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia
  • 2415 km (1500 miles) E of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

Historic Information

Institutions

Maps

Notable Earthquakes

Recent Earthquakes

Tectonic Information

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Posted in earthquake, earthquake 2010, Indonesia, Indonesia quake, Indonisia earthquakes | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Eyjafjallajokull Volcano: ASTER data

Posted by feww on April 24, 2010

ASTER data of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano

The following data have been acquired by the ASTER instrument on the NASA Terra satellite, and posted on Internet by University of Pittsburgh volcanologist Michael Ramsey. The data were collected both day and night. ASTER acquires data in the visible/near infrared (VNIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) during day time overpasses and in the TIR at night. The VNIR images are at 15 m/pixel resolution and the TIR are 90 m/pixel (each image covers approximately 60 km by 60 km).


Eyjafjallajokull Eruption Day time visible/near infrared image (13.5 MB) dated April 19, 2010.

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Serial No 1,618. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

Posted in eyjafjalla, Eyjafjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull eruption, Iceland volcano, iceland volcanoes, magma, Volcano Hazards, Volcanology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cyclone 24S Strengthens, Renamed Sean

Posted by feww on April 24, 2010

Cyclone 24S powers up, renamed Tropical Storm Sean

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite from April 22 at 17:29 UTC (1:29 p.m. EDT) showed some strong, high, cold thunderstorms around Sean’s center.

Infrared imagery is false-colored and higher cloud tops of stronger storms are depicted in purple. Sean showed a circular area of high, strong thunderstorms around his center of circulation. Those highest thunderstorms are as cold as or colder than 220 Kelvin or minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

On Friday, April 23 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) Tropical Storm Sean had maximum sustained winds near 45 knots (52 mph). It was about 475 nautical miles north of Learmonth, Australia, near 14.4 South and 113.3 East. It was moving southeast at 4 knots (5 mph).

Animated infrared satellite imagery shows convective banding (that is, rapidly rising air that condenses and form thunderstorms) keeps wrapping into the low-level center of the storm, from both the south and east of the center. Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center note that conditions are still good for further intensification over the next 12-24 hours, but then Sean will encounter vertical wind shear and begin weakening over the weekend.

Sean is a sea storm, and will not affect any land areas over the weekend. Image and Text: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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Serial No 1,617. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

Posted in Indian Ocean, storm, tropical cyclone, Tropical storm | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Gulf Sunken Rig: No Major Spill Yet—Reports

Posted by feww on April 24, 2010

The sunken drilling rig and damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico not leaking for now: The U.S. Coast Guard

The initial oil spill from Deepwater Horizon is about 200 barrels (8,400 gallons/31,800 liters), which is regarded as a “minor spill,” according to the said Coast Guard

The slick was estimated at about 13 kilometers long (8 miles) and 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) wide and  at the last flyover by the Coast Guard, a US Coast Guard spokesman said.

“As of right now, the spill is not growing,” He added.

On  Thursday an unmanned submarine inspected the area, but found no leaks of from the sunken drilling rig and no crude oil flowing from the damaged well, a Transocean representative said.

This situation, of course, could change because oil wells gushing at a rate of 8,000 barrels per day don’t heal automatically after a fire. [According to an unconfirmed report, the oil well was capped on Friday. Even if true, there's no guarantee that the seal would hold.]

The oil rig had a supply of 700,000 gallons (2,650,000 liters) of diesel on board, stored for its huge electricity generators, but the authorities don’t know whether the fuel was consumed by the fire or sank with the oil rig.

The slick poses a threat to the Louisiana coastline, depending on the wind pattern


A boat using booms and dispersant chemicals on Friday tries to contain oil slick where the bleeding-edge Deepwater Horizon rig once floated. [The slick, a  mix of crude oil and fuel, was estimated at about 13 kilometers long (8 miles) and 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) wide on Friday. A day earlier, however, officials had said the slick was 5  miles by 1 mile.] Photo credit:  AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice for details.

Statement of Transocean Ltd. CEO Steven L. Newman Following U.S. Coast Guard Announcement

ZUG, SWITZERLAND, Apr 23, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –Following the suspension of U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue efforts to find 11 missing persons in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Steven L. Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN), on the ground in New Orleans, expressed his deepest sympathies on behalf of the company to the family members of those lost. The nine Transocean personnel and two employees of a third-party company have been missing since Tuesday, April 20, 2010, when a fire and explosion occurred onboard the semisubmersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which sank on Thursday.

“As the nation and everyone in the Transocean family mourns the tragic loss of these people, our deepest sympathies are with their families and friends today,” said Mr. Newman. “Transocean is doing everything we can to meet their needs during this difficult time, and our family response team members are in close contact to provide all necessary support. I would once again like to express our gratitude to the U.S. Coast Guard, BP and everyone involved for their exhaustive search and rescue efforts, despite this very sad outcome.”

For more information about Transocean, please visit our website at http://www.deepwater.com.    SOURCE: Transocean Ltd.

What People Said?

Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg: “Big Oil has perpetuated a dangerous myth that coastline drilling is a completely safe endeavor, but accidents like this are a sober reminder just how far that is from the truth,” said  in a statement.

Louisiana State University environmental sciences professor Ed Overton speaking to the Associated Press. “It’s going to be a … mess for a while … I’m not crying doomsday or saying the sky is falling, but that is the potential.”

Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of Florida: “As a part of the effort to expand drilling, the oil industry as recently as Tuesday was pressing the government agency responsible for leasing offshore lands to quickly proceed with a study of the effects of surveying for oil off the Atlantic coast. That came just hours before the Tuesday night explosion.”

The White House told Washington Post that President B.O. won’t reconsider the offshore oil and gas drilling proposal despite the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Some 858 fires and explosions have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico since 2001, resulting in 69 offshore deaths and 1,349 injuries, the federal Minerals Management Service said.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster comes just days after the Obama administration proposed opening up large blocks of the Gulf for deepwater oil and gas exploration.

The explosion occurred just two weeks after a coal mine explosion in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 miners.

These disasters beg the question, what will the administration do next year to meet with the unreasonable, unsustainable rise in energy demands to feed the terminally ill economic system of exponential growth.

While it is certain that the unsustainable system must and will collapse, it’s unclear which few of our ecosystems and how much of their services might survive.

Our world could have survived and thrived on about 8 percent of current energy consumption.

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Serial No 1,616. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

Posted in gas and oil drilling, Gulf of Mexico oil Spill, oil and gas exploration | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 23 April

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

Ash Fall from Eyjafjallajökull Eruption Closes Icelandic Airports

Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport was closed earlier today due to volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull eruption.

The wind direction had reportedly changed pushing the ash cloud in southern Iceland in a southwesterly  direction; however,  little or no ash fall was forecast in the capital Reykjavik, Icelandic Review reported.

The closure of Keflavík airport was expected to affect all international flights to and from Iceland.

Webcam views of Eyjafjallajökull eruption recorded at 11:40UTC on April 23, 2010 – Click images to enlarge

Hvolsvelli View

Thórólfsfelli (Þórólfsfelli) View

The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull

Eruption update 22 April
Similar situation as yesterday (see 21 April report)

Seismic tremor recorded by the Icelandic Meteorological Office: Some fluctuations, with a peak shortly after midnight 22 April related to a small flood of meltwater. Since the onset of the explosive eruption the tremor has overall been gradually increasing, with superimposed fluctuations.

Visual observations yesterday: Regular explosions at intervals of few minutes were observed in afternoon, with fluctuations in intensity and tephra content. Previous entries …

The following two images are from Frettabldid-Island and may be subject to copyright.

Electric Eyjafjallajokull


Prime Real Estate

Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland – Current events Report by Icelandic Met Office

Status as of:  23 April 2010 10:45(UTC)

Volcanic tremor has been similar the last 24 hours. GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull showed deflation associated with the eruption.

The plume could be seen on IMO’s radar till 04:00. This morning it rose up to 16.000 feet, ca 4.8 km, and ash is blowing towards west.

Water in Markarfljot river increased slightly yesterday, probably due to continuous flow from the eruption area (Gigjökull).

Eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland as seen by RADARSAT-2 (Canadian Space Agency)


Left: RADARSAT-2 image of April 9 – RADARSAT-2 Multi-Look Fine, beam 4 – April 9, 2010, 07:34 :48 UTC, Descending orbit – Nominal resolution: 8 m.
Right: RADARSAT-2 image of April 20 – RADARSAT-2 Extended High, beam 4 – April 20, 2010, 07:13 :53 UTC, Descending orbit -Nominal resolution: 25 m.
Click image to enlarge.

Image Notes and Observations:

  • New volcano craters are evident on April 20 image (Right).
  • Glacial lake on the north slope of the volcano is now filled with volcanic sediments.
  • Local drainage network is swamped by the melt water.
  • The radar backscatter has changed drastically, probably caused by the melted ice and by the presence of ash and dust on the ice.
  • Agricultural land on the south slope of the volcano covered by volcanic ash and debris.
  • The wavelength used by RADARSAT-2 is only slightly affected by the  ash and airborne particles.
  • For larger images click here

Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management – Media team

News Release: # 22 – April 23, 2010, 06:30(UTC)

A little after midnight, the volcanic cloud became quite dark, according to the police, and the wind turned during the night.

The Weather Bureau expects southeasterly winds today, and the wind force will gradually increase. An ashen mist is expected towards the north-east of the volcano, and small quantities of ash might even reach Reykjavík. The terms “ashen mist” refer to a view impaired by the ash, according to the Weather Bureau. Some ash is falling in the direction of Fljótshlíð and will continue to do so in a northwesterly direction from the volcano.

Flights to and from the airports of Keflavík and Reykjavík are being cancelled and travellers are requested to follow the news and the websites of the flight operators and Keflavík Airport.

According to the police at Hvolsvöllur, no traffic is permitted in the vicinity of the volcano. The area closed to traffic encompasses the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, its slopes, the Fimmvörðuháls pass and Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Please respect these restrictions.

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Valley of the Rocks Avalanche: Deafening Thunder

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

Image of the Day:

Valley of the Rocks Avalanche: The Largest Landslide in North America


Valley of the Rocks, B.C., Canada.  A geologist says the largest landslide in North American history, a colossal avalanche of rocks and earth, occurred on a Rocky Mountain slope near the B.C.-Alberta border some 10,000 years ago. The huge avalanche permanently shifted the geography of North America.
Photo (undated): Nick Roberts, Simon Fraser University.

A detailed study of the cataclysmic event  has been carried out by researchers Nick Roberts of Simon Fraser University and Steve Evans of the University of Waterloo.

“Despite its size, this landslide has gone virtually unrecognized” in the scientific literature, Roberts told Canwest News Service. “Even basic information about the rock avalanche, including its precise dimensions, volume and age,” were unknown until now.

“Destabilized by forces associated with retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age, the final cleaving of the mountain above the Valley of the Rocks might have been triggered by an earthquake or a torrential rainstorm, the researchers believe.” The report said.

What was the magnitude of the avalanche?

“When the mountain gave way, any Stone Age hunters in the vicinity might have been convinced the end of the world was unfolding.” The report said.

“Transfer of kinetic energy to sound energy through fracturing and collision of rock material would have produced a tremendous noise,” says Roberts.

“Survivors of large landslides in recent decades have described sounds similar to cannon fire or the roar of a jet engine,” he adds, noting that the blasts likely represent “initial fracturing in the first stages of failure” while the roar is generated by the rush of millions of tonnes of rock down the mountain side.

“In the case of the Valley of the Rocks avalanche,” says Roberts, “these sounds would have been deafening within a few kilometres of the landslide, and would have been audible for at least many tens of kilometres.”  More…

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Astronomy: Science of Looking into the Past?

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

submitted by a reader

‘LUCIFER allows astronomers to watch stars being born’

That’s the title of a news release by the university of Arizona.  With all the technology shared  between them, they had to play hard with words to come up with an acronym that has a negative image. It’s like “Challenger” versus “Explorer,” but cockier and more distasteful.

10 to 1 the person who thought of this name was a victim of Catholic Church abuse!


Original Caption:
Technicians install the LUCIFER instruments on the Large Binocular Telescope in the fall of 2008.

What’s ‘LUCIFER’

It’s described as “a new instrument for the world’s largest optical telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham, allows astronomers to observe the faintest and most distant objects in the universe.”

Is an image from taken from object 8,000 light years away (7.8 x 10^16km), looking into the past, tell you anything about the future?

To understand the implication of the above question, you must first answer the following question:

What happens when 50 percent of the world population are dentists?

Because that’s exactly what has happened to astronomy, among other sciences. It has reached the ridiculous stage when science has no longer a utility value, but an economic-aesthetic value. That’s unless you come up with something no one has done before, regardless of its usefulness to human or any other animal race, you go out of business.

Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) partners in the U.S, Germany and Italy announced April 21 that the first of two new innovative near-infrared cameras/spectrographs for the LBT is now available to astronomers for scientific observations at the telescope on Mount Graham in southeastern Arizona.After more than a decade of design, manufacturing and testing, the new instrument – dubbed LUCIFER 1 – provides a powerful tool to gain spectacular insights into the universe – from the Milky Way to extremely distant galaxies. LUCIFER, built by a consortium of German institutes, will be followed by an identical twin instrument that will be delivered to the telescope in early 2011.

“With the large light-gathering power of the LBT, astronomers are now able to collect the spectral fingerprints of the faintest and most distant objects in the universe,” said LBT director Richard Green, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory.

LUCIFER 1 and its twin are mounted at the focus points of the LBT’s two giant 8.4-meter (27.6 foot) diameter telescope mirrors. Each instrument is cooled to -213 degrees Celsius in order to observe in the near-infrared wavelength range. Near-infrared observations are essential for understanding the formation of stars and planets in our galaxy as well as revealing the secrets of the most distant and very young galaxies.

Stellar Nursery

Original Caption:
Where stars are born: The first LUCIFER observations of star-forming regions are giving scientists an idea of the new instrument’s enormous potential. This image depicts a stellar nursery in the Milky Way about 8,000 light years from Earth. Such clouds are typically opaque to visible light. However, infrared light detected by LUCIFER can penetrate the dust. Photo: Arjan Bik

LUCIFER’s innovative design allows astronomers to observe in unprecedented detail, for example star forming regions, which are commonly hidden by dust clouds.

The instrument is remarkably flexible, combining a large field of view with a high resolution. It provides three exchangeable cameras for imaging and spectroscopy in different resolutions according to observational requirements.

Astronomers use spectroscopy to analyze incoming light and answer questions such as how stars and galaxies formed and what they are made of.

The instruments were built by a consortium of five German institutes led by the Center for Astronomy of Heidelberg University, together with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, the Astronomical Institute of the Ruhr-University in Bochum, and the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim.

The LBT is a collaboration among the Italian astronomical community (National Institute of Astrophysics), the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft in Germany (Max-Planck-Institut fϋr Astronomie in Heidelberg, Zentrum fur Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Astrophysikalisches Institut in Potsdam, Max-Planck-Institut fϋr Extraterrestrische Physik in Munich, and Max-Planck-Institut fϋr Radioastronomie in Bonn), and the Ohio State University and Research Corporation (Ohio State University, University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota and University of Virginia).

Galaxy NGC1569

Original Caption:
These two images show the starburst galaxy NGC 1569, which is forming stars at a rate that is 100 times faster than what is typically observed in the Milky Way. LUCIFER’s sensitive infrared vision reveals glowing red clouds of dust enshrouding newly formed stars. Photo: Anna Pasquali

Additional Technical Background:

  • LUCIFER is an acronym for: Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research
  • LUCIFER’s three exchangeable cameras are available for direct imaging, long-slit-spectroscopy and multi-object-spectroscopy. Two of them are optimized for seeing-limited conditions, a third camera for diffraction-limited cases will be used after completion of the LBT adaptive secondary mirror system.
  • Using a four Mega-pixel Hawaii2-camera the instrument covers a comparatively large field of view of 4×4 arc minutes (about 1/50th of the full moon on sky).
  • According to observational requirements, presently a set of five broad-band filters (z, J, H, K, Ks), 12 medium and narrow-band filters and three different high-resolution spectroscopic gratings are available.
  • A special feature of the LUCIFER is 10 fixed and up to 22 exchangeable masks which can be used for longslit and multi-object spectroscopy (MOS). This multiplex-technology developed at MPE allows the spectroscopy of about two dozen objects simultaneously and reduces the costs per photon and observing time at the telescope dramatically. All laser-cut MOS-masks are stored in a separate magazine which can be replaced with new masks at fully cryogenic temperatures using an external cryostat and a vacuum interlock to the main instrument. This work can be done within a few hours during a normal service-interval in day-time and avoids a several days lasting warming-up and cooling-down cycle of the complete LUCIFER-instrument preserving valuable observing time.
  • Contact: Daniel Stolte
    stolte@email.arizona.edu
    University of Arizona

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System 91S becomes Tropical Cyclone 24S

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

TC 24S Rainfall Captured by NASA’s TRMM


The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite’s analysis of rainfall within Tropical Storm 24S on April 22 at 0708 UTC (3:08 a.m. EDT) showed areas of light to moderate rainfall. Image and caption: NASA

NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite has been flying over the low pressure area known as System 91S in the Southern Indian Ocean and providing estimates of rainfall within the storm. The storm has now strengthened enough to be reclassified as the twenty-fourth southern hemispheric tropical cyclone, “24S.”

TRMM found that there were some areas of light to moderate rainfall between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour.

Rain rates are created from different instruments aboard TRMM. The rain rates in the center of TRMM images are derived from the TRMM Precipitation Radar, the only space borne radar of its kind, while those in the outer portion are from the TRMM Microwave Imager. The rain rates are then overlaid on infrared data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner to create the entire image.

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) this morning, April 22, Tropical Cyclone 24S had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph) making it of tropical storm strength. 24S was about 570 nautical miles north of Learmonth, Australia, near 13.1 South and 115.4 East. It was moving in a southerly direction at 6 mph (5 knots) but it is forecast to turn westward and head into open waters and away from Australia.

Animated infrared satellite imagery shows increased central convection (thunderstorm development) and improved banding of thunderstorms around the center of the cyclone. Because 24S is in an environment of low vertical wind shear, it is expected to further intensify for a couple of days. After that, the wind shear will kick up again and weaken the storm. Source:  NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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Deepwater Horizon Sinks

Posted by feww on April 23, 2010

Major Environmental Disaster Looms!

The oil well may be bleeding more than 8,000 barrels of crude oil into the Gulf each day

After burning for 36 hours, Deepwater Horizon, a semisubmersible oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico finally sinks, threatening to cause a major oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

”It certainly has the potential to be a major spill,” said David Rainey, a vice-president of BP Gulf of Mexico exploration, the company that was leasing the rig.


The state-of-the-art Korean-built offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon finally sank. Photo Credit: The US Coast Guard.

The state-of-the-art oil platform on lease to BP, was carrying out exploratory drilling about 66km (41  miles) southeast of Venice, Louisiana.

The US Coast Guard said the rig may be leaking more than 8,000 barrels (342,000 gallons) of crude oil per day.

There’s no sign of the 11 missing crew members, despite frantic air and sea rescue efforts. An employee of Transocean, the company who owns the rig, said the initial blast may have killed the 11.

Four of the 17 crew members who were injured are said to be in critical condition.

Oil Rig Spec

The ‘state-of-the-art’ oil platform owned by Transocean was built in South Korea in 2001. Measuring about 121 x 78 meters (41m deep), it was designed to operate in water to the depth of about 2,440 meters  ( 8,000 feet), drilling  9,144 meters deep. The rig was a semisubmersible platform which accommodated a crew of 130.

News Release: Transocean Ltd. Provides Update on Semisubmersible Drilling Rig Deepwater Horizon

ZUG, SWITZERLAND, Apr 22, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) provided an update today regarding a fire and explosion onboard its semisubmersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon and reports that the rig sank late in the morning, today. The combined response team was not able to stem the flow of hydrocarbons prior to the rig sinking, and we are working closely with BP Exploration & Production, Inc. and the U.S. Coast Guard to determine the impact from the sinking of the rig and the plans going forward. The U.S. Coast Guard has plans in place to mitigate any environmental impact from this situation.

The incident occurred April 20, 2010 at approximately 10:00 p.m. Central Time in the United States Gulf of Mexico. The rig was located approximately 41 miles offshore Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon block 252.

The cause of the fire and explosion is unknown at this time. An investigation into the cause of the incident and assessment of the damage will be ongoing in the days or weeks to come.

Statements regarding any future aspect of the incident on the Deepwater Horizon, the effects, results, investigation, damage assessment relating thereto mitigation of environmental impact, as well as any other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include but are not limited to results of searches, investigations and assessments, actions by the Coast Guard and other governmental agencies, actions by customers and other third parties and other factors detailed in Transocean’s most recent Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available free of charge on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated.

Transocean is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor and the leading provider of drilling management services worldwide. With a fleet of 139 mobile offshore drilling units plus three ultra-deepwater units under construction, the company’s fleet is considered one of the most modern and versatile in the world due to its emphasis on technically demanding segments of the offshore drilling business. Its worldwide fleet is more than twice the size of the next-largest competitor. The company owns or operates a contract drilling fleet of 45 High-Specification Floaters (Ultra-Deepwater, Deepwater and Harsh-Environment semisubmersibles and drillships), 26 Midwater Floaters, 10 High-Specification Jackups, 55 Standard Jackups and other assets utilized in the support of offshore drilling activities worldwide.  For more information about Transocean, please visit our website at http://www.deepwater.com.

SOURCE: Transocean Ltd.

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Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 22 April

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Volcanic tremors continue unabated, Eyjafjallajökull ash plume stays low

The explosive activity at Eyjafjallajökull is less vigorous, with only one of two main craters in the summit caldera remaining active.

Webcam views of Eyjafjallajökull eruption recorded at 15:23UTC on April 22, 2010 – Click images to enlarge

Hvolsvelli View

Thórólfsfelli (Þórólfsfelli) View

“Eruption rate is inferred to have declined over last few days and now be an order of magnitude smaller than during the initial 72 hours of the eruption. Present eruption rate is estimated to less than 30 m3/s of magma, or 75 tonnes/s , with a large uncertainty.” The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center said.

The eruptive style was reported as: “Phreatomatic explosive activity” with “lava spatter” at the summit craters, with the plume height reaching 3,000 m asl.

Seismic tremor showed some fluctuations but remained mostly stable, said the Icelandic Meteorological Office. “Tremor is not decreasing and does not reflect the decline as inferred from the eruption rate.”


Freeze frame from a video of Eyjafjallajökull Eruption shot by Icelandic Coast Guard.

The Institute of Earth Science Nordic Volcanological Center said:

Tephra dispersal: local towards the south

Meltwater: minor, but what is melted flows down into Markarfljót, no signs of water accumulation in craters

GPS-measurements: indicate continuing small pressure decrease under the volcano at a similar rate.

Composition of erupted material: Samples collected April 19 show same composition as early in the explosive phase, but fluorine content is higher. Samples collected 19 April have 850 mg/kg (initially it was 25-35 mg/kg). This is due to the change in eruptive style – tephra is now not washed to the same extent by water in the eruptive plume.

Amount of erupted material: Uncertain but on the order of 100 millon cubic meters. Tephra next to craters is 20-30 m thick.

Iceland’s Civil Protection Office confirmed that the ash emissions had been considerably reduced. “The volcanic cloud is quite low and not visible on radars. The ash is not expected to reach an altitude of 20.000 feet (6 – 7 km) for the nex few days. The ashes will continue falling on the area south and south-east of the glacier today, yet the wind will turn and blow from the north-easterly today, and the ashes will start falling to the south-west tonight. The wind is expected to be mild. That, and a lessened ash emission, will cause the ashes to fall near the eruption site. There is no cause to believe that the ashes will fall on the south-western regions of Iceland.”

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British pilot aborts flight: “We can smell ash!”

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Was volcanic ash responsible for the plane’s engine trouble?

A frightened British pilot flying a Boeing 757 to Crete to rescue stranded holidaymakers was forced to abort the flight after smelling ash on takeoff followed by engine fault.

“An audio file obtained by ‘The Sun’ reveals the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control.” Bild reported.

“We believe we’re in clear air at the moment, but we’ve definitely had the smell of the ash in the aircraft and twice one of our engine bleed airs has failed so we’re pretty sure its volcanic ash,” the Thomas Cook pilot said.

More…

The pilot reported smelling ash to air traffic control, first at 16,000 feet and then again at 20,000 feet, during the initial climb.

“In the climb, we could smell the ash. The smell stayed on for a while. Once we’d levelled at 39 [39,000 feet] we then lost one engine bleed, so we’ve taken all the required actions for volcanic ash encounter.” The pilot said.

Thomas Cook dismissed the pilot’s claim as a “minor technical fault with its air conditioning.” They said the flight was not aborted due to volcanic ash and that the plane was not in any danger.

However, according to a former pilot,  Lawrence Rayment, the problem was “uncommon,” the report said.

“It is a very uncommon fault. For it to happen as the plane flew through the ash cloud is a worry.” He said.

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Deepwater Horizon Still Burning – UPDATE

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Image of the Day:

BP-Operated Oil Rig Still Ablaze 2 Days after Exploding

The explosion occurred on Deepwater Horizon, a BP-operated offshore oil-drilling platform 66km (41 miles) southeast of Venice, Louisiana, at about 10 p.m. (ET) Tuesday.


Fire boat response crews fight the massive blaze that destroyed the huge offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, Wednesday April 21, 2010. The platform was still burning early Thursday. Photo Credit: US Coast Guard.

Seventeen people were injured, 4 of them critically, as a result of the explosion that set the oil rig ablaze, sources said. Eleven others are missing, the worst may be presumed.

The ‘state-of-the-art’ oil platform owned by Transocean was built in South Korea in 2001. Measuring about 121 x 78 meters (41m deep), it was designed to operate in water to the depth of about 2,440 meters  ( 8,000 feet), drilling  9,144 meters deep. The rig was a semisubmersible platform which accommodated a crew of 130.

Some 858 fires and explosions have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico since 2001, resulting in 69 offshore deaths and 1,349 injuries, the federal Minerals Management Service said.

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The Next Icelandic Volcano Likely to Erupt

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

A Probability Analysis of the Icelandic Volcano Most Likely to Erupt Next

The pattern of seismicity in Iceland has remained almost unchanged from two days ago, while the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull has become less explosive.

Loads of magma seem to be flowing under the land of Ice and Fire [Iceland,] but where is it all going?

In Iceland’s Bárdarbunga May Be Erupting posted on April 20,2010, Fire Earth Moderators said they believed Iceland’s Bárdarbunga May Be Erupting or is about to Erupt.

Seismic events occurring between Apr 18 – 20,2010

Source: Iceland Met Office. © Veðurstofa Íslands

Seismic events occurring between Apr 20 – 22,2010

Source: Iceland Met Office. © Veðurstofa Íslands

The moderators have now allocated the following probabilities of eruption to each of the volcanoes/volcano groups previously listed:

  1. Probability of a second Icelandic volcano erupting this year: > 80 percent
  2. Kolbeinsey ridge (Last erupted: 1999) or a new submarine fissure in its vicinityprobability of eruption: 80 percent
  3. Krafla (1984)/ Theistareykjarbunga (< 1000 BC)/ Tjörnes fracture zone (1868) – probability of eruption: 52percent
  4. Askja (1961) – probability of eruption: 66 percent
  5. Bárðarbunga (1903) and neighboring Grímsvötn (2004) – probability of eruption: 84 percent
  6. Grímsnes (> 3500 BC) – 40 percent
  7. Reykjanes (1879) – 50 percent
  8. Eyjafjallajökull – probability that the current round of eruption would last more than 30 days: 34 percent
  9. Katla – probability of eruption: 64 percent
  10. Other Icelandic volcanoes not mentioned on this list: probability of eruption: less than 40 percent


A Map of Iceland Volcanoes. Click image to enlarge.

Bárdarbunga, one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, is a massive volcano with a  700-m-deep caldera which lies beneath the NW Vatnajökull icecap.  A fissure eruption at Thjorsarhraun produced about 21 km³ of lava, the largest known Holocene lava flow on the planet.

Powerful eruptions may occur among the volcanoes lying along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The plate tectonics could also translate into increased seismicity along the divergent plate boundary and boundaries of neighboring plates.

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‘I fight for Merkel’

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Submitted by a reader

Quotes of the Week:

“Why are we fighting in Afghanistan?”

As four more German soldiers are killed, and five others critically injured in Afghanistan last week, the German troops are asking their leader, “why are we fighting in Afghanistan?”

Some troops are now wearing a badge that reads:

‘I fight for Merkel’

At least 43 German troops have been killed and dozens more maimed/injured since they joined the foreign occupation forces in Afghanistan in 2002.


‘I fight for Merkel’ badge worn by some of the German troops in Afghanistan to protest their presence in that country.  Source:


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband, posing with the War-Racketeer-in-Chief President B.O. and his spouse in Rathouse, Baden-Baden, Germany.

Germany’s National Zeitgeist: 80 percent of Germans want their troops to exit Obama’s War on Afghanistan

Some other  related quotes:

Bild Zeitung, Germany’s largest daily:

“They want the Chancellor, their ultimate boss, to finally find the clear words to put the war against the Taliban into black and white.”

My party has “growing doubts” about German presence in Afghanistan, said Ottmar Schreiner, a member of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD). “If things haven’t improved in Afghanistan by next year then I don’t see where a majority for a new extension of the mandate is going to come from.”

The Financial Times Deutschland:

“With every dead German soldier in Afghanistan, the calls for an immediate withdrawal grow louder. This reflex shows that the German public is still not clear about the character of the mission.

“The politicians are largely to blame. Since the beginning of the mission eight years ago they suppressed a realistic description of the situation… Deaths, injuries, battles and heavy weaponry — none of these suit the picture that was painted back then.”

Germany’s Berliner Zeitung:

“Why are German soldiers in Afghanistan at all? As the chancellor and her government are still sticking to the military mission there it is their duty to explain it. But she has failed to do so.

“This can be explained by her basic attitude – it is only worth talking about problems when they become virulent.

“In the case of Afghanistan this is particularly catastrophic. Because the government has failed to make its case in what is the biggest foreign policy and security policy challenge in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Germany is finally at war with its conscience. Obama’s America is yet to look up the word in a dictionary.

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Mudslide Buries Chemical Factory in China

Posted by feww on April 22, 2010

Landslide Kills at least 8 People in Jiande City China

Initial reports of how and when the two female and six male workers were killed are conflicting. In fact the number of the victims could be higher.

The following bulletins were broadcast by the official Xinhua news agency.  The worrying aspect of their reporting is the change in the cause of deaths:

Seven killed in east China landslide

English.news.cn 2010-04-21 00:27:00

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-04/21/c_13260201.htm

HANGZHOU, April 20 (Xinhua) — Seven people were killed in a landslide in east China’s Zhejiang Province Tuesday, local authorities said.

The landslide buried part of a factory at 2:30 p.m. in Daciyan town, Jiande city, trapping six men and two women workers, said Yan Weihua, of the publicity department of Jiande Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The seven died during medical treatment.

One worker, who was pulled from the debris late Tuesday, was still receiving emergency treatment in hospital.

The workers were employed in Jinkai Chemical Fiber Co., Ltd., which was located at the foot of a hill.  Editor: yan

And a later bulletin read:

Eight confirmed dead in east China landslide

English.news.cn 2010-04-21 08:50:56

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-04/21/c_13260635.htm

HANGZHOU, April 21 (Xinhua) — The eight people buried in a landslide in east China’s Zhejiang Province Tuesday have been confirmed dead, a doctor said Wednesday morning.

The doctor with the No.3 People’s Hospital in Jiande City told Xinhua that all of the eight people had been already dead when they were sent to hospital, with their mouths full of mud and sand.

The landslide buried part of a factory at 2:30 p.m. in Daciyan Town, Jiande City, trapping six men and two women workers, said Yan Weihua, of the publicity department of Jiande Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The workers were employed by Jinkai Chemical Fiber Co., Ltd., which was located at the foot of a hill.  Editor: Lin Zhi

Related Links:

  • Landslides [Index page for landslides and related links]

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Offshore Oil Rig Explodes

Posted by feww on April 21, 2010

Oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana’s coast explodes many injured, missing

Seventeen crew workers seriously injured, 3 of them critically, 15 others missing

The explosion occurred on Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil-drilling platform 66km (41 miles) southeast of Venice, Louisiana, at about 10 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, the US Coast Guard said.


‘State of the art,’ semisubmersible Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig on Fire, April 20, 2010 at approximately 10:00 p.m. central time. Photo: Scott Lloyd/United States Coast Guard.

The fire was “large and intense,” and the rig was still burning Wednesday morning, according to various reports. “It’s burning pretty good and there’s no estimate on when the fire will be put out,” a coast Guard officer said.

The rig owners, Transocean, said the rig has been on lease to BP Exploration & Production since September 2007.

No news concerning the extent of oil pollution that would most probably have occurred as a result of fire was available as of posting.


Deepwater Horizon Location Map.
No information was made available concerning the extent of probable oil pollution, which may have been caused by the massive fire on the oil platform, as of posting. Base Map: Google Earth. Click image to enlarge.

The Deepwater Horizon before the explosion

News Release: Transocean Ltd. Reports Fire on Semisubmersible Drilling Rig Deepwater Horizon

ZUG, SWITZERLAND, Apr 21, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) today reported a fire onboard its semisubmersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. The incident occurred April 20, 2010 at approximately 10:00 p.m. central time in the United States Gulf of Mexico. The rig was located approximately 41 miles offshore Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon block 252.

Transocean’s Emergency and Family Response Teams are working with the U.S. Coast Guard and lease operator BP Exploration & Production, Inc. to care for all rig personnel and search for missing rig personnel. A substantial majority of the 126 member crew is safe but some crew members remain unaccounted for at this time. Injured personnel are receiving medical treatment as necessary. The names and hometowns of injured persons are being withheld until family members can be notified.

Transocean is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor and the leading provider of drilling management services worldwide. With a fleet of 140 mobile offshore drilling units plus three ultra-deepwater units under construction, the company’s fleet is considered one of the most modern and versatile in the world due to its emphasis on technically demanding segments of the offshore drilling business. Its worldwide fleet is more than twice the size of the next-largest competitor. The company owns or operates a contract drilling fleet of 46 High-Specification Floaters (Ultra-Deepwater, Deepwater and Harsh-Environment semisubmersibles and drillships), 26 Midwater Floaters, 10 High-Specification Jackups, 55 Standard Jackups and other assets utilized in the support of offshore drilling activities worldwide.  SOURCE: Transocean Ltd.

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Eyjafjallajökull Eruption – UPDATE 21 April

Posted by feww on April 21, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull Rumbling, Churning out Magma

Eyjafjallajökull has entered a Strombolian-like phase of explosive of  activity, producing magma splatters, but less ash and smoke than the previous days.The plume, however, is till rising to a height of about 3,500m.

The magma in Eyjafjallajökull cauldron seems to be more viscous  than in its neighboring Fimmvörðuháls fissure,  the Icelandic  Met Office reported, adding that the interaction of magma with ice and melt water had decreased.

Icelandic Met Office:  Update on activity
Eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland
Current events
Deflation – 20 April 2010 13:30 [22:30UTC]

Latest available results from GPS stations around Eyjafjallajökull showed deflation associated with the eruption. This suggested that the volume of eruptive material which has been ejected already, relieves pressure off the volcano.

No movements associated with the Katla volcano are presently observed. END

Thórólfsfelli (Þórólfsfelli) View

Hvolsvelli View

Valahnúk View

Latest webcam images of Eyjafjallajökull show the volcano is still petty much active. Frames frozen at 08:42UTC on April 21, 2010. Click images to enlarge.

There is no sign of lava flow as yet, but the situation could change rapidly.

“It seems that the ice cauldrons over the eruption site have coalesced to form a larger cauldron. In spite of magma splatters, no lava flow has been detected yet.”

“Heavy sound blasts have been heard and found near Eyjafjallajökull, especially south and east of the mountain. The viscosity of the magma from Eyjafjallajökull is higher than on Fimmvörðuháls and this enhances the explosive sound effect which can be heard over long distances.” it said.

Nearly all of the European airports have now reopened, however, the travel chaos with an unprecedented backlog of about 100,000 flight cancellations continues. The 6-day flight ban has cost the airlines more than one billion dollars. The actual cost to the unsustainable economies of Europe may be even larger.


Eldgosið í Fimmvörðuhálsi var undanfari eldgossins í Eyjafjallajökli. Árni Sæberg. Source: MBL-Island. Image may be subject to copyright.

A Silver Lining to the Ash Cloud?

University students in Britain have estimated the amount of carbon dioxide released by  Eyjafjallajökull Eruption  at 150,000 metric tons per day. The figure compares with 510,000 tons of CO2 per day emitted as a result of the planes flying normally over Europe. Their estimates seem to imply a ‘saving’ of 360,000 tons of CO2 per day as a result of the flight restriction over Europe. Source:  Reuters report.


ASTER on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the above image at 1:50 p.m. local time on April 19. The image shows both the eruption plume and the heat signature of lava at the volcano’s summit and at nearby Fimmvörduháls fissure. Source: NASA. Click image to enlarge.

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Posted in Eyjafjallajökull eruption, eyjafjallajokull map, iceland ash cloud, Iceland volcano, magma | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Who’s Afraid of Volcanic Ash Clouds?

Posted by feww on April 21, 2010

Thar: Another Encroaching Desert

Pall of Dust Covers Pakistan-India Border Region

The nearest volcanoes from the Thar Desert on the Pakistan-India Border Region are about 1,000km away. And there aren’t nearly as many of them as in  Iceland. The area won’t receive a significant amount of the volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull Eruption,  but there would be plenty of sand and dust to compensate for the airborne particles.


The photo like image taken by MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows a large dust storm over the Thar Desert on the border between India and Pakistan April 20, 2010. Source: NASA
. Click image to enlarge.

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El Niño Update [21 April 2010]

Posted by feww on April 21, 2010

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  19 April 2010

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  0.8ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  0.8ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 1.1ºC


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

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are more than 1.0ºC above-average across muchof the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010 and transition to ENSO-neutral conditions by Northern Hemisphere summer 2010.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates – Previous 5 Issues:

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

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