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Archive for April, 2015

M6.7 Quake Strikes East New Britain

Posted by feww on April 30, 2015

M6.7 earthquake 125km SSW of Kokopo, PNG

Centered at 5.392°S, 151.818°E the quake occurred at a depth of 48.9 km (30.4 mi), reported USGS/EHP.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.7Mw
Location: 5.392°S, 151.818°E depth=48.9 km (30.4 mi)
Time: 2015-04-30 at 10:45:05 (UTC)

Nearby Cities

  • 125km (78mi) SSW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
  • 186km (116mi) E of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
  • 331km (206mi) SSE of Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
  • 421km (262mi) WNW of Arawa, Papua New Guinea
  • 680km (423mi) NE of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

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Hundreds of Flares Expelling Methane Gas off NZ Coast

Posted by feww on April 30, 2015

Link sent by blog reader K. in New Zealand

766 Methane gas flares found in one  area of seabed near Gisborne coast: Report

Researchers have discovered hundreds of individual methane gas flares within an area of seabed off the coast of Gisborne, New Zealand, said a report.

They found that every area of carbonate rock and every fault detected on the seafloor was expelling methane, a total of about 766 individual gas flares within one area alone.

“Flares can occur in these kind of environments but seeing them in that kind of density is highly unusual – and we’ve certainly found nothing like it in New Zealand before,” the lead researcher told the reporter.

“We have recorded video footage showing columns of bubbles streaming out of the sea bed,” he added.

“Preliminary indications are that methane is reaching the ocean surface – this is the first time this has been measured in New Zealand. However, to understand how much methane, and then what this means for atmospheric contributions, will require detailed analysis of the data.”

Read more…

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Disaster, Catastrophe, Tragedy, Atrocity

Posted by feww on April 30, 2015

Ukraine Atrocity & Nepal Disaster

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake [and its strong aftershocks] that struck Nepal on April 25 has wreaked a mega disaster across the impoverished nation, especially in the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley.

  • Fatalities: At least 5,057 soles in Nepal as well as about 100 in neighboring countries (as of April 29).
  • Injuries: more than 10,915 (6,000+ “hospitalized”) in Nepal and dozens more in India, Tibet and Bangladesh.
  • Homes destroyed or damaged: 600,000 (at least 70,000 houses were destroyed and another 530,000 homes damaged across 39 of Nepal’s 75 districts —UN)
  • In need of food assistance: At least 8.5 million people.
  • Living in the open: Some 500,000 people remain in the open amid the damp, cold weather.
  • Drinking water and sanitation:  Up to 4.2 million people urgently need  safe drinking water and sanitation facilities —UN.

Ukraine Atrocities

At least 6,116 people have been killed (April 17, 2015) and 15,474 others wounded in the Ukrainian conflict, which began in April 2014, said the UN.

[It’s not known whether the UN figures include the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. All of the 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed on July 17, 2014, when the plane was apparently shut down over the Ukraine airspace, presumably to widen the scope of the conflict and involve more of the EU member countries in the conflict. See also: “9/11 Mafia” make Malaysian Airlines an offer… ]

As of April 20, 2015 at least 1,236,495 people in Ukraine had registered as IDPs across the country, said the Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP). Additionally, about 801,000 Ukrainians have sought asylum, residence permits or other forms of legal stay in neighboring countries. By April 24, 2015, the total included 659,143 individuals in Russia, 81,044 in Belarus and 47,589 others in Poland, reported UNHCR.

The conflict began after the new government in Kiev sent troops to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk) because the people refused to recognize the new coup-imposed president.


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Nepal Earthquake Update – April 29, 2015

Posted by feww on April 29, 2015

8 Million people affected, 5,000 dead, 11,000 injured after Nepal earthquake 

Death toll from the 7.8-magnitude quake and its strong aftershocks, which also triggered deadly avalanches on Mt Everest, has now reached 5,057 with 10,915 others injured in Nepal, as of posting.

Some 454,769 people have been displaced, according to Nepal’s Home Ministry.

Up to a 100 people have also been reported dead in India and Tibet with dozen of others injured.

More than 8 million people in 39 districts have been affected, of which over 2 million live in the 11 most severely hit districts, a report quoted officials as saying.

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State of Emergency Declared in Baltimore

Posted by feww on April 28, 2015

Baltimore Burning: Curfew declared as violence flares

Gov. of Maryland has declared a state of emergency, activating the national guard as violence and looting intensifies.

Meantime, the mayor has declared a curfew following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody on April 19 after a week in coma.

The week-long curfew is effective between 22:00 and 05:00, starting on Tuesday.

At least 15 police officers have been injured in clashes with demonstrators, some with broken bones, while dozens of arrests have been made, as of posting.

Gray’s death is the latest in a series of high-profile cases where black men have lost their lives after contact with the police.

Baltimore police have suspended six police officers who were involved in the victim’s arrest.

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August last year led to nationwide demonstration after a jury decided not to charge police officer Darren Wilson over the killing.

Several other black men have also been killed fleeing the police, or while being arrested, since last year.

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Special Broadcast – FIRE-EARTH Channel – TPE

Posted by feww on April 27, 2015

CJ Members

Special Broadcast on FIRE-EARTH Channel TODAY!

Tune into FIRE-EARTH Channel for a special broadcast Monday (April 27, 2015) at the following times:

17:02, 18:32 and 20:02 UTC.


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Nepal Earthquake Update – April 27, 2015

Posted by feww on April 27, 2015

Entire villages razed by earthquakes, 10,000 dead or injured,

The 7.8-magnitude quake, and its strong aftershocks, which also triggered deadly avalanches on Mt Everest, have killed about 3,500 people and left more than 6,500 injured, as of posting.

It’s feared that the earthquakes may have razed dozens of villages and destroyed entire communities throughout the country and beyond; however, full extent of the damage and final causality toll may not be known for days, possibly weeks, due to the remoteness of those areas in mountainous region.

“Villages like this are routinely affected by landslides, and it’s not uncommon for entire villages of 200, 300, up to 1,000 people to be completely buried by rock falls,” said a charity organizer.

Meantime, more aftershocks are expected to strike the region along the subduction zone where the Indian plate is sliding under the Eurasian plate (see map).

IP subduction zone - Nepal EQs
Nepal Earthquakes. Indian Plate Subduction Zone. Original map sourced from USGS, enhanced by FIRE-EARTH.

Historic Earthquakes

23 quakes since 1900 - usge archives
At least 23 earthquakes measuring ≥7.0Mw have struck the map area since 1900 (global total: 1,318). The latest quake in Nepal is highlighted in yellow. Sourced from USGS earthquake archives.

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29th Anniversary of Chernobyl NPP Disaster

Posted by feww on April 26, 2015

Chernobyl sarcophagus falling apart

29 Years ago today (April 26, 1986) a power surge blew the roof off the reactor No. 4 of the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station, as it was then called, releasing radioactive clouds across Eastern Europe, and leaving entire regions in three countries—Ukraine, Russia and Belarus—unlivable.

The explosion has so far claimed at least a million lives, and counting.

Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant underwent a core meltdown [center] in 1986 with disastrous consequences. The radionuclide levels still exceed the normal background in 60 Ukrainian towns and villages. This image was taken by authorities in the former Soviet Union.

The radiation contaminated 50,000 square kilometers of land across 12 regions in Ukraine, and forced hundreds of villages to be relocated. In neighboring Belarus 20 percent of the entire country’s land area was also contaminated.

The radionuclide levels still exceed the normal background in 60 Ukrainian towns and villages.

Today, a second casing is being built to contain the radiation, which is still being emitted by the reactor because the old sarcophagus is crumbling.

However, the dire economic situation in Ukraine may mean the project may be shelved, said a report.

Never Ending Nightmare at

“In mid-February [2013,] a 600-square-meter section of the roof at the Chernobyl site collapsed, sparking fears of another disaster. The collapse occurred 70 meters above the sarcophagus that contains the radiation from the damaged No. 4 reactor.” Said a report.

Experts estimate that 190 tons of reactor fuel remain under the existing sarcophagus that covers the disaster stricken power plant.

Birth defects and cancer were the norm for many years following the Chernobyl disaster.  By the time  residents of Pripyat, a town located near the plant, were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning.

1 Million Killed in Chernobyl Disaster

“A report by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko which appeared in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science showed that by 2004, there were 985,000 additional deaths worldwide caused by the nuclear disaster, including 212,000 of them within Western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”

Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere

Consequences of the Catastrophe. Authors  Alexey Yablokov (Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow), Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko ( Institute of Radiation Safety, Minsk, Belarus) studies about 5,000 reports and scientific  papers mostly published in Slavic languages and compiled their finding in the  book “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment,” which was published last year on the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl reactor core meltdown.

“For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” They wrote.

“No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe,” the authors said. “Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere.”

According to the book, a total of about 830,000 people, referred to as the “liquidators,” were responsible for various emergency works at the Chernobyl site including fire extinguishing, decontamination and cleanup.

The authors say between 112,000 and 125,000 of the  liquidators had died by 2005.  The authors also estimate that between 1986 and 2004 some 985,000 people died as a result of Chernobyl fallout {2011 estimates are well over a million deaths.]

“Official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations’ agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.” The authors said last year.

What Happened to Wildlife?

Researchers found that there were “areas with an abundance of 100 animals per square meter. And then there are areas with less than one specimen per square meter on average; the same goes for all groups of species.”

The researchers also found that animals living near the Chernobyl reactor were subject to more incidences of deformities, including discoloration and stunted limbs, than normal.

“We wanted to ask the question: Are there more or fewer animals in the contaminated areas? Clearly there were fewer,” said Moller, one of the researchers who has worked on Chernobyl since 1991.

Effects of Chernobyl radioactive contamination on decomposition of plant material

A new study has found that the microbial communities, which are responsible for natural cycle of decay of organic materials,  have been significantly reduced in radioactively contaminated zones near Chernobyl.

The following is Abstract from  the report E-pubulished on March 4,  2014.

Highly reduced mass loss rates and increased litter layer in radioactively contaminated areas

The effects of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl on decomposition of plant material still remain unknown. We predicted that decomposition rate would be reduced in the most contaminated sites due to an absence or reduced densities of soil invertebrates. If microorganisms were the main agents responsible for decomposition, exclusion of large soil invertebrates should not affect decomposition. In September 2007 we deposited 572 bags with uncontaminated dry leaf litter from four species of trees in the leaf litter layer at 20 forest sites around Chernobyl that varied in background radiation by more than a factor 2,600. Approximately one quarter of these bags were made of a fine mesh that prevented access to litter by soil invertebrates. These bags were retrieved in June 2008, dried and weighed to estimate litter mass loss. Litter mass loss was 40 % lower in the most contaminated sites relative to sites with a normal background radiation level for Ukraine. Similar reductions in litter mass loss were estimated for individual litter bags, litter bags at different sites, and differences between litter bags at pairs of neighboring sites differing in level of radioactive contamination. Litter mass loss was slightly greater in the presence of large soil invertebrates than in their absence. The thickness of the forest floor increased with the level of radiation and decreased with proportional loss of mass from all litter bags. These findings suggest that radioactive contamination has reduced the rate of litter mass loss, increased accumulation of litter, and affected growth conditions for plants.

Oecologia. 2014 May;175(1):429-37. doi: 10.1007/s00442-014-2908-8. Epub 2014 Mar. Authors: Mousseau TA(1), Milinevsky G, Kenney-Hunt J, Møller AP. PMID: 24590204 [PubMed – in process]

Chernobyl and Other Nuclear Stats

  • More than 95% of the radioactive material (180 metric tons with a radioactivity of about 18 million curies) still remains inside the Chernobyl reactor.
  • The  core meltdown at Chernobyl was said to have released radiation estimated at 50 million curies. Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations said in 1995 that the meltdown had released about 140 million curies. [Researchers Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko say the radiation released from Chernobyl may have been up to 10 billion curies. In comparison, the Hiroshima bomb released about 3 million curies.]
  • Immediately after the accident, 237 people suffered from acute radiation sickness, and 31 died within the first 90 days of the disaster.
  • About 135,000 people were evacuated from the area surrounding the plant, including 50,000 from the town of Pripyat.
  • The Academy’s  estimate for the number of casualties  are more than 90,000 deaths and more than a quarter of a million cancer cases.
  • The Ukrainian National Commission for Radiation Protection calculates the number of radiation casualties at half a million  deaths so far.
  • In a book published by the New York Academy of Sciences last year on the 24th anniversary of the reactor core meltdown, the researchers maintain that about one million people have died from exposure to radiation released by the Chernobyl reactor so far [as of 2010.]
  • “In the former Soviet Union at least 9 million people have been effected by the accident; 2.5 million in Belarus; 3.5 million in Ukraine; and 3 million in Russia. In total over 160 000 Km2 are contaminated in the three republics.” source
  • Some 441 commercial nuclear power reactors are  operating in 31 countries ( total capacity of 376 gigawatts) each of which is potentially as lethal as Chernobyl, if not worse. [This item, updated here, was written before the Fukushima nuclear disaster began unfolding.]
  • An estimated 56 countries operate more than 250 research reactors.
  • At least 220 nuclear reactors power military ships and submarines.

Legacy: More than 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed among children and adolescents between 1992 to 2002 in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Victims under 14 years were most severely affected by the elevated concentrations of radioiodine found in milk.

  • Incidents of skin lesions, respiratory ailments, infertility and birth defects were readily found among the more than five million people who inhabit the affected areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine for many years following the accident.

The Poisoned land. Up to 5 million people continue to live on radioactive contaminated land. About 85% of the children who live in contaminated areas of Belarus today are ill, a near 6-fold increase compared to the time before the explosion (15%), according to The Belarusian National Academy of Sciences.

Birth defects and cancer were the norm for many years following the Chernobyl disaster.  By the time  residents of Pripyat, a town located near the plant, were ordered to evacuate, about two days after the Chernobyl core meltdown had occurred, many had already been exposed to varying doses of radiation poisoning

Fukushima NPP

Fukushima NPP is said to contain about 4,277 tons of nuclear fuel, about 24 times as much as Chernobyl (~ 180 tons).

“The Fukushima Dai-ichi site has a considerable number of fuel rods on hand, according to information provided Thursday by Toyko Electric Power Co., which owns the atomic complex: There are 3,400 tons of fuel in seven spent fuel pools within the six-reactor plant, including one joint pool storing very old fuel from units 3 and 4. There are 877 tons in five of the reactor cores. Officials have said that the fuel in Unit 4′s reactor vessel was transferred to its spent fuel pool when the unit was temporarily shut in November.” AP reported.

On April 12, Japanese authorities raised the measure of severity of the Fukushima NPP disaster to the maximum level of 7 on INES. (See below for details.)

The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)

The INES, a logarithmic scale, which was introduced in 1990 by the IAEA to enable prompt communication, classifies the intensity of nuclear incidents as follows:

7 – Major Accident [Chernobyl disaster, criticality accident, April 1986]

6 – Serious Accident [e.g., Kyshtym incident, Mayak, former Soviet Union, steam explosion released up to 80 tons of highly radioactive material into the atmosphere, September 1957. ]

5 – Accident With Wider Consequences [e.g., Three Mile Island accident  Pen State, U.S., partial meltdown release radioactive gases  into the environment, March 1979.]

4 – Accident With Local Consequences [e.g., Sellafield, UK, at least 5 incidents reported between 1955 to 1979]

3 – Serious Incident [e.g., Vandellos NPP, Spain, fire destroyed control systems; the reactor was shut down, July1989]

2 – Incident [e.g., Forsmark NPP, Sweden, a backup generator failed, July 2006]

1 – Anomaly [e.g., TNPC, France, 1,600 gallons of water containing 75 kilograms (170 lb) of uranium leaked into the environment,  July 2008]

0 – Deviation (No Safety Significance) — [e.g., Atucha, Argentina – Reactor shutdown caused by tritium increase in reactor encasement, December 2006.]

What is a lethal dose of radiation from a single Exposure?

Studies of the 1945 atomic bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki show that 100 percent of victims whose bodies were exposed to 600,000 millirems (6,000 mSv) died from radiation. About 50 percent of victims who received  450,000 millirems (4,500 mSv) of radiation also died.

(Note: Rem is a unit of ionizing radiation equal to the amount that produces the same damage to humans as one roentgen of high-voltage x-rays.  Source: MIT)

1 rem = 10 mSv  (1 Sv = 100 rem)

Background Radiation in millirems per year (mrem/yr)

  • Average background radiation (US):  300
  • Higher altitudes (e.g, Denver): 400

“Safe Levels” of Radiation (U.S.)

Limits above natural background radiation levels (average 300 millirems per year) and medical radiation:

  • Occupation Limit: Maximum of 5,000  (the limit for a worker using radiation)
  • Average Natural Background: 300

[Note: Lifetime cumulative exposure should be limited to a person’s age multiplied by 1,000 millirems, e.g., a 70-year-old person, 70,000 millirems.]


  • Max single dose for an adult: 3,000
  • Annual total dose: 5,000

Under 18

  • Max single dose for a person aged under 18 years: 300 millirems (whole body equivalent)
  • Annual total exposure: 500

Fetal Exposure

  • Maximum limit for fetal exposure during gestation period:  50 millirems per month above background levels


  • Single Chest X-ray (the whole body equivalent): 2 millirem

Air Travel

  • Coast-to-coast US round trip flight: 12 millirems

*Note:  Radiation dose of about 2,000 millisieverts (200,000 millirems) cause serious illness.

Half-life of some radioactive elements

[NOTE: Half-life is the time taken for a radioactive substance to decay by half.]

  • Cesium-134 ~ 2  years
  • Cesium-137 ~ 30 years
  • Iodine-131 ~ 8 days
  • Plutonium-239 ~ 24,200 years
  • Ruthenium-103 ~ 39 days [Ruthenium is a fission product of uranium-235.]
  • Ruthenium-106 ~ 374 days
  • Strontium-90 ~ 28.85 years  [Strontium-90 is a product of nuclear fission and is found in large amounts in spent nuclear fuel and in radioactive waste from nuclear reactors.]
  • Uranium-234 ~  246,000 years
  • Uranium-235 ~ 703.8  million years
  • Uranium-238  ~ 4.468 billion years

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M6.7 Aftershock Rattles Nepal Disaster Zone

Posted by feww on April 26, 2015

Strong aftershock strikes S of Kodari, Nepal

Centered at 27.794°N, 85.974°E the destructive aftershock occurred at a depth of 10km, about 17km south of Kodari (elev.: 2,315m) USGS/EHP reported.

The event was the 33rd aftershock measuring ≥ 4.5Mw to strike the disaster zone created by the deadly 7.8Mw earthquake on Saturday.

The death toll has now exceeded 2,000 with more than 5,000 others injured, according to various reports.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.7Mw
Location: 27.794°N, 85.974°E; depth: 10km
Date/Time: 2015-04-26 at 07:09:08 (UTC)
Nearby Cities (Nepal)

  • 17km (11mi) S of Kodari (pop: ~ 2,000)
  • 48km (30mi) ENE of Banepa(pop: ~ 28,000)
  • 51km (32mi) ENE of Panaoti  (pop: ~ 29,000)
  • 65km (40mi) E of Kathmandu (pop: ~ 1.6 million)
  • 66km (41mi) ENE of Patan (pop: ~ 245,000 )

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Nepal Quake Death Toll Nears 2,000

Posted by feww on April 26, 2015

Death toll mounting amid Nepal’s worst earthquake in 8 decades

  • Fatalities: About 2,000 and counting
  • Injuries: About 5,000 as of posting

Dozens of fatalities have also been reported in India, Bangladesh, China Tibet and on Mount Everest, where the quake aftershocks triggered several avalanches.

At least 18 people were killed on Mt Everest and dozens more injured when an avalanche buried part of the base camp under snow.

Hundreds of foreigners, including Canadians, Britons and Australians, are reported as missing (unaccounted for) across Nepal, and on the Himalayas/Mt Everest.

It is the worst earthquake to strike Nepal since a magnitude 8.0 event (26.885°N, 86.589°E depth=15km)  on January 15, 1934, which killed about 10,500 people.

[Details of the 1934 quake were sourced from  ISCGEM via USGS/EHP search.]

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Nepal Death Toll Mounting

Posted by feww on April 25, 2015

Powerful quake leaves trails of death and destruction in Nepal, India, Tibet, Bangladesh

The death toll from the earthquake in Nepal has now reached 876, various sources quoted police spokesman as saying.

nepal quakes 25apr2015
Earthquake Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP. At least 25 aftershocks measuring magnitude 4.2Mw or greater had occurred as of posting, with 22 shocks measuring ≥ 4.5Mw.

An avalanche on Mt Everest, triggered by a magnitude 5.7Mw aftershock near Xegar (28.428°N, 87.338°E), has killed at least 10 people, said the Tourism Ministry in Kathmandu, adding that the toll was expected to mount because more than 1,000 climbers were on the mountain.

At least half dozen others were killed in Tibet, as a result of the quake and the aftershocks.

Indian authorities have confirmed 38 fatalities, as of posting.

Bangladesh police said a man was killed in the quake.

The number of injured is not known, but could be in the thousands.

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Special Broadcast – FIRE-EARTH Channel – RGM

Posted by feww on April 25, 2015

CJ Members

Special Broadcast on FIRE-EARTH Channel TODAY!

Tune into FIRE-EARTH Channel for a special broadcast today (April 20, 2015 UTC) at the following times:

12:02, 14:02 and 16:02 UTC.


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Deadly Earthquake Devastates Nepal

Posted by feww on April 25, 2015


About 500 killed, many more injured

The deadly quake that struck about 77km (48mi) NW of Kathmandu earlier today has been confirmed as a magnitude 7.8Mw shock, said USGS/EHP.

The powerful quake, and more than a dozen aftershocks, have claimed about 500 lives and left many more injured, according to Nepalese officials.

“Hundreds of people are feared dead and there are reports of widespread damage to property. The devastation is not confined to some areas of Nepal. Almost the entire country has been hit,” said a senior diplomat at Nepal’s embassy in New Delhi, India.

According to revised estimates by USGS, the total no of fatalities may be between 1,000 and 10,000.

“Red alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response,” said USGS/EHP.

The estimated economic losses have also been revised to between $1 and $10 billion.

“Estimated economic losses are 9-50% GDP of Nepal,” said USGS/EHP.

EQ Revised Details

Magnitude:  7.8Mw
Location: 28.147°N 84.708°E
Depth: 15.0 km
Time: 2015-04-25 06:11:26 UTC
Nearby Cities:

  • 34km (21mi) ESE of Lamjung, Nepal
  • 58km (36mi) NNE of Bharatpur, Nepal
  • 73km (45mi) E of Pokhara, Nepal
  • 76km (47mi) NW of Kirtipur, Nepal
  • 77km (48mi) NW of Kathmandu, Nepal

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Powerful Earthquake Strikes Nepal

Posted by feww on April 25, 2015


M7.9 quake, major aftershock, strike ESE of Lamjung, Nepal

Centered at 28.131°N, 84.649°E the quake struck at a depth of 15.0 km, USGS/EHP reported.

At least four significant aftershocks, with the largest  measuring 7.1Mw, have followed as of 07:13UTC.

The quakes, which occurred 81km NW of Kathmandu, may have caused mass casualties and large scale damage.

Tremors were felt the Indian capital Delhi as well as other cities throughout northern India.

According to the USGS models, estimated fatalities may be as many as 1,000, with the economic losses estimated at up to $1.o billion.

Aftershocks as of 07:14UTC
nepal quakes emsc-csem-org

 Details of Mainshock [USGS/EHP]

Magnitude: 7.9Mw
Location: 28.131°N 84.649°E
Depth: 15.0 km
Time: 2015-04-25 at 06:11:26 (UTC)

Nearby Cities:

  • 29km (18mi) ESE of Lamjung, Nepal
  • 53km (33mi) NNE of Bharatpur, Nepal
  • 68km (42mi) ESE of Pokhara, Nepal
  • 79km (49mi) NW of Kirtipur, Nepal
  • 81km (50mi) NW of Kathmandu, Nepal


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Strong Quake Strikes Queen Charlotte Sound

Posted by feww on April 24, 2015

M6.1 quake strikes WSW of Bella Bella, Canada

Centered at 51.738°N, 130.752°W the quake occurred at a depth of 10km, USGS/EHP reported.

EQ Details

Magnitude: 6.1Mw
Location: 51.738°N 130.752°W
Depth: 10.0 km
Time: 2015-04-24 13:56:16 (UTC)
Nearby Cities:

  • 187km (116mi) WSW of Bella Bella, Canada
  • 288km (179mi) S of Prince Rupert, Canada
  • 340km (211mi) SSW of Terrace, Canada

Tsunami Evaluation:

NO destructive tsunami expected!

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Deadly Storms Destroy Tens of Thousands of Homes in Bihar, India

Posted by feww on April 24, 2015

Winds of up to 200 km/hr flatten crops in Bihar’s corn belt

Severe cyclonic storms have killed about 50 people, left more than 100 others injured and destroyed 25,000 mud houses across 12 districts in the most populous region of Bihar state, East India.

“Crops at most places are flattened,” said the State Chief Minister after conducting an aerial survey of disaster areas.

“I have never seen this kind of destruction in 75 years. I had taken a loan to do farming but everything is destroyed now,” said a local farmer.

The storms destroyed their homes and livelihoods in a span of just 45 minutes, said a  report.

It wasn’t the rain, but the winds, which raked across the region with speeds of up to 200 km/hr for just an hour or so, that caused damage, said a local trader. “There has been large scale lodging [flattening] of standing maize crop. Apart from yield loss, there will also be quality deterioration of the grain, affecting prices.”

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Significant Earthquakes Strike CA, ID, NZ

Posted by feww on April 24, 2015

M5.5 quake strikes 253km W of Ferndale, California

Centered at 40.403°N, 127.245°W the quake occurred at a depth of 10.0 km (6.2 mi), reported USGS/EHP.

Date/ Time: 2015-04-24 01:34:55 (UTC)

At least one aftershock, measuring 3.0Mw, had occurred as of posting.

M 4.1 strikes 22km SE of Sandpoint, Idaho
Location: 48.110°N 116.386°W
Depth: 5.0 km
Date/ Time: 2015-04-24 at 02:32:19 UTC
[Source: USGS/EHP]

M 5.9 strikes 66km NW of Kaikoura, New Zealand
Location: 42.075°S 173.016°E
Depth: 55.2 km
Date/ Time: 2015-04-24 03:36:43 UTC
[Source: USGS/EHP]

The earthquake was registered locally (geonet) as follows :

Intensity: Severe
Universal Time: April 24 2015, 3:36:42
Depth: 52 km
Magnitude: 6.2
Location: 35 km south-east of St Arnaud
Coordinates:  -42.09, 173.07

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Statement on Oklahoma Seismicity: OGS

Posted by feww on April 24, 2015

Seismic shift: Oklahoma earthquakes caused by wastewater injection

Oklahoma geologists say they now believe the majority of the state’s earthquakes are triggered by the oil and gas industry’s disposal of massive amounts of water underground.

They have measured the seismicity rate which is now more than 600 times greater than the background seismicity rate, and therefore highly unlikely to be the result of a natural process.

[They have missed a number of key details, including the “signature depth” at which the majority of the quakes are occurring. FEWW Scientific Team]

The government scientists at Oklahoma Geological Survey have issued the following statement:

Statement on Oklahoma Seismicity

Based on observed seismicity rates and geographical trends following major oil and gas plays with large amounts of produced water, the rates and trends in seismicity are very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process. Historically, the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) recorded on average about 1 ½, magnitude three or greater (M3+) earthquakes each year, within Oklahoma. During 2013, the OGS observed on average about 2, M3+ earthquakes each week on average, and this rate continued to increase during 2014. Currently, the OGS is reporting on average about 2 ½, M3+ earthquakes each day. The OGS considers it very likely that the majority of recent earthquakes, particularly those in central and north-­‐central Oklahoma, are triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells.

The primary suspected source of triggered seismicity is not from hydraulic fracturing, but from the injection/disposal of water associated with oil and gas production. Produced water is naturally occurring water within the Earth that is often high in salinity and co-­‐ exists with oil and gas in the subsurface. As the oil and gas is extracted/produced, so is the water. This water is then separated from the oil and gas and re-­‐injected into disposal wells, often at greater depth from which it was produced. However, it is often stated that disposed water is wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. While there are large amounts of wastewater generated from hydraulic fracturing, this volume represents a small percentage of the total volume of wastewater injected in disposal wells in Oklahoma.

The observed seismicity of greatest concentration, namely in central and north-­‐central Oklahoma, can be observed to follow the oil and gas plays characterized by large amounts of produced water. Seismicity rates are observed to increase after a time-­‐delay as injection volumes increase within these plays. In central and north-­‐central Oklahoma, this time-­‐delay can be weeks to a year or more.

The OGS can document the following geological and geophysical characteristics related to the recent earthquake activity within Oklahoma.

  • The seismicity rate in 2013 was 70 times greater than the background seismicity rate observed in Oklahoma prior to 2008. While unlikely, this rate could have been potentially explained by natural variations in earthquake rates from naturally occurring swarms. The seismicity rate is now about 600 times greater than the background seismicity rate, and is very unlikely the result of a natural process.
  • The majority of earthquakes in central and north-­‐central Oklahoma occur as earthquake swarms and not in the typical foreshock-­‐mainshock-­‐aftershock sequences that are characteristic of naturally occurring earthquake sequences throughout the world in a variety of tectonic settings. However, it is recognized that naturally occurring earthquake swarms do occur and have occurred within the region.
  •  These earthquakes swarms are occurring over a large area, about 15% of the area of Oklahoma, that has experienced significant increase in wastewater disposal volumes over the last several years.
  • The earthquakes are primarily occurring on faults that are optimally and sub-­‐ optimally oriented within Oklahoma’s tectonic stress regime.
  • Both triggered and naturally occurring earthquakes release accumulated tectonic stress on these faults.
  • Most of the earthquakes in Oklahoma are occurring within crystalline basement, deeper than most oil and gas operations. However, reactivation of deeper basement faults from water injection/disposal at shallower depths is often observed in cases of triggered seismicity.
  • The majority of wastewater disposal is targeted for injection in the Arbuckle formations, which closely overlie the crystalline basement.
  • As a result of high bulk permeability within sections of the Arbuckle, pressure from water injection/disposal may be transmitted several miles from an injection site.
  • The high density of injection wells in central and north-­‐central Oklahoma combined with the high permeabilites within the Arbuckle makes identifying relationships between specific wells and seismic activity difficult.

The OGS endeavors to accurately document seismicity within Oklahoma, and is increasing its capability to improve earthquake monitoring and data products. This includes the addition of staff, as well as updating and adding seismic equipment to improve seismic monitoring coverage throughout the state. In addition, the OGS is compiling a database of known fault locations within Oklahoma from published scientific literature and voluntarily fault data contributions from the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA). The OGS also participates in projects with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other researchers worldwide in the ongoing investigation of Oklahoma seismicity.

The OGS also works closely with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to provide information on Oklahoma seismicity and research publications on triggered and induced seismicity. The OGS collaborates with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Ground Water Protection Council States First Initiative Workgroup on Induced Seismicity in multi-­‐state efforts to better understand the problem and develop a regulatory framework.

The OGS continues to make its data and data products publicly available in a timely manner, and to contribute to research and the public discussion of earthquakes in Oklahoma. As communicated in the joint USGS/OGS statement dated May 2, 2014, the earthquake hazard in Oklahoma has increased due to the increased rate of seismicity. It is important for Oklahomans to learn what to do during a significant earthquake, and be prepared. The OGS and the Oklahoma Office Emergency Management provide such information on their respective websites.

Oklahoma Geological Survey
Richard D. Andrews, Interim Director and State Geologist
Dr. Austin Holland, State Seismologist
April 21, 2015

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FIRE-EARTH Volcanism Index (FEVIX)

Posted by feww on April 23, 2015

CJ Members

FEWW Volcanism Update

A request has been made by several Members for the latest   update of FIRE-EARTH Volcanism Index (FEVIX).

For an update, please see FIRE-EARTH Bulletin issued at 16:35UTC today (April 23, 2015) .

The latest global volcanism is as follows:

  • Calbuco Volcano, Chile, 41.013°S, 72.002°W, April 21, 2015
  • Chikurachki,  Paramushir Island (Russia), 50.324°N, 155.461°E, April 18
  • Raung, Eastern Java, 8.125°S, 114.042°E, April 8
  • Sinabung,  Indonesia, 3.17°N, 98.392°E
  • Tongariro,  North Island (NZ), 39.157°S, 175.632°E, March 28
  • Tungurahua, Ecuador, 1.467°S, 78.442°W,  April 15-21
  • Ubinas, Peru, 16.355°S, 70.903°W, April 15-17
  • Villarrica, Chile, 39.42°S, 71.93°W, 8-14 April

Ongoing Activity
Aira, Kyushu (Japan)
Chirinkotan, Kuril Islands (Russia)
Chirpoi, Kuril Islands
Colima, Mexico
Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
Fuego, Guatemala
Karymsky Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands
Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka
Popocatepetl, Mexico
Reventador, Ecuador
Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka
Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)
Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java
Turrialba, Costa Rica

Useful Links

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Crop Disasters Declared in AZ, ID, NV, OR, UT

Posted by feww on April 23, 2015

Drought destroys more crops in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 37 additional counties across five states—Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah—as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the drought.

The drought disaster designations are for the following areas:

  • Arizona. Mohave County
  • Idaho. Adams and Washington counties
  • Nevada. Clark, Humboldt, Lincoln, Nye Washoe and White Pine counties.
  • Oregon. Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler counties.
  • Utah. Box, Carbon, Davis, Duchesne, Elder, Juab, Morgan Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele (multiple designations), Sanpete, Utah, and Wasatch counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least an 1,098 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on April 22, 2015 and posted on their website as three separate declarations.

Related Links

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Calbuco Volcano Finally Erupts

Posted by feww on April 23, 2015

Thousands evacuated as Calbuco volcano explodes

Located in southern Chile, about 1,000km  south of the capital, Santiago, the extremely explosive andesite  volcano finally erupted, sending a massive column of ash, smoke and lava up to 20km into the atmosphere.

Chile’s ONEMI emergency office declared a red alert and evacuated more than 4,000 people within a 20km (12 mile) radius of the 2,015-meter high volcano.

Residents of the nearby town of Ensenada and two other communities have been ordered to abandon their homes.

Calbuco’s last major eruption occurred in 1961.

Villarrica volcano, also in southern Chile, erupted in March.

ONEMI has posted the following update (Spanish) on its website:

Related Links

Latest Significant Seismic Activity in the PRF:

Magnitude: 6.3Mw
Location: 12.025°S, 166.424°E depth=72.0 km (44.7 mi)
Time: 2015-04-22 22:57:15 (UTC)

  • 158km SSE of Lata, Solomon
  • 396km (246mi) NNW of Luganville, Vanuatu

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‘Unprecedented’ Flu Outbreak Baffles Scientists

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Millions of birds killed as AI spreads across 15 states

This is so unusual that we can’t help but think something different must be going on —avian medicine expert

A lethal strain of avian influenza (AI) has been detected at an egg-laying facility in NW Iowa, the top U.S. egg-producing state, forcing the health authorities to destroy millions of laying hens, according to USDA.

Iowa has a $2 billion egg-laying industry with about 50 million hens that supply 1 in every 5 eggs consumed across the U.S.

The latest outbreak has occurred at an egg production facility with at least 3.8 million laying hens in Osceola County, which has been placed under quarantine. The quarantine covers an area of about 10km (6 miles)  around the farm, a division of Sonstegard Foods Co., based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The outbreak has also prompted Wisconsin to declare a state of emergency after three poultry flocks became infected in the past week.

There are now 15 states with infected birds: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

As of Monday, at least 2.6 million birds had been killed.

The strain has also led to the deaths of at least 2.4 million turkeys nationwide (birds either killed by the disease or by authorities working to prevent the spread of virus).

“Authorities have confirmed N5N2 outbreaks at more than 30 commercial poultry farms in the Midwest, including 22 in Minnesota. All were turkey operations except for one chicken farm in Wisconsin,” said a report.

“Minnesota, the nation’s largest turkey producer, is the epicenter of the highly pathogenic H5N2 bird flu. The state annually produces about 46 million turkeys, meaning 4 to 5 percent of Minnesota’s annual production has now been affected by the flu,” said a report.

The virus can kill an entire flock within 48 hours, experts say.

AI spread from Asia to the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain into the North American poultry farms.

Rapid spread of the virus has alarmed scientists who have so far been unable to unravel the mystery of how the deadly virus have infected so many turkey farms in such a short period of time, said a report.

“It’s been really troubling to understand how in the world this can possibly be happening,” said Carol Cardona, a professor of avian medicine at the University of Minnesota.

“This is so unusual that we can’t help but think something different must be going on,” she said.

“Since December 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths). The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks,” said USDA

“The H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014, including the Pacific flyway.  In the Pacific flyway, the H5N8 virus has mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, creating new mixed-origin viruses.  This is not unexpected.  These mixed-origin viruses contain the Asian-origin H5 part of the virus, which is highly pathogenic to poultry.  The N parts of these viruses came from North American low pathogenic avian influenza viruses.”

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12 Disaster Zones Declared in NSW, Australia

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

State of emergency declared in New South Wales amid deadly weather

More than two days of cyclonic storms with pounding rain and gale-force winds  have prompted the NSW premier Mike Baird to  declare disaster in a dozen areas between Sydney’s Northern Beaches and the Hunter Valley in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW).

The disaster declarations cover Dungog, Newcastle City, Maitland, Cessnock, Gosford, Warringah, Great Lakes, Lake Macquarie, Pittwater, Port Stephens, Singleton and Wyong, said the Baird in a statement.

At least three people were killed in the town of Dungog, north of Newcastle, on Tuesday, and police retrieved the body of a fourth victim near Maitland, north-west of Newcastle, late Wednesday, said a report.

The State Emergency Services (SES) issued an evacuation order for several areas warning residents to leave immediately.

Related Links

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Major Disaster Declared for Georgia

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Georgia Declared Federal Disaster Area

Georgia Severe Winter Storm (DR-4215)

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Georgia in the areas affected by a severe winter storm during the period of February 15-17, 2015.

Areas worst affected by the  severe winter storm include the counties of Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Elbert, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Stephens, and White.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, said the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

Related Links

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State of Emergency Declared in Wisconsin

Posted by feww on April 22, 2015

Risk of significant large fires expected to extend

Gov. Walker has issued an Executive Order (#157) declaring a State of Emergency in Wisconsin in response to ongoing drought and elevated wildfire conditions.  Abnormally dry weather conditions throughout the state are increasing likelihood of wildfires, with the risk of significant large fires expected to extend at least through the end of May, said a statement issued by the governor’s office.

“Much of our state is in a moderate drought at this time, and we’re not expecting that will improve very soon,” Walker said. “The recent dry weather, in combination with other factors such as wind speeds and low humidity, create the perfect environment for volatile wildfires, which is a potential danger to the people of Wisconsin and their property, as well as our natural resources. Therefore, I am calling upon the Wisconsin National Guard to assist the Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in wildfire suppression efforts.”

The DNR is currently monitoring weather conditions and fire behavior, and fire departments and fire suppression resources are on high-alert, said the statement.

A copy of Executive Order #157 is posted HERE.

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