Lava and ash spew from Mt Etna flights redirected


Lava and ash spewing out of a crater of the giant Etna volcano in southern Italy forced the closure of nearby Catania airport, ANSA news agency said late Sunday. With a high risk of volcanic ash being blown onto the runways, the airport was closed for safety reasons and flights redirected to nearby Palermo. It is the volcano’s 17th eruptive activity since the start of the year.


Turkey earthquake: Desperate search for survivors

Rescue teams are desperately
searching for people trapped under rubble after a strong earthquake hit Turkey’s
eastern Van region on Sunday.

More than 200 people died and 1,000 were injured in the 7.2 magnitude quake,
many of them in the town of Ercis, where dozens of buildings fell.

Tens of thousands have been sleeping outside in freezing conditions.

The death toll is expected to rise in the coming hours. PM Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has been visiting the area.

Turkey is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it sits on major
geological fault lines.

Two earthquakes in 1999 with a magnitude of more than 7 killed almost 20,000
people in densely populated parts of the north-west of the country.

The earthquake struck at 13:41 (10:41 GMT) at a depth of 20km (12.4 miles),
with its epicentre 16km north-east of Van in eastern Turkey, the US Geological Survey said.

It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, also centred north of
Van, including two of magnitude 5.6 soon after the quake and one of 6.0 late on

‘Screams for help’

Mr Erdogan has been visiting the affected area by

He said that villages close to Van were the worst affected as most buildings
there were made of clay bricks.

The prime minister thanked other countries for their offers of help but said
Turkey could cope with the disaster on its own.

Up to 80 buildings, including a dormitory, collapsed in the town of Ercis,
about 60km north of Van, while 10 fell in Van itself.

Town mayor Zulfikar Arapoglu appealed for help. “We need urgent aid, we need
medics,” he said.

Ambulances, soldiers and rescue teams rushed to the town, a Reuters
photographer reported from Ercis.

Survivors complained of a lack of heavy machinery to remove chunks of cement
floors that had pancaked on to each other, the Associated Press reports.

Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of
Celebibag, near Ercis.

“There are many people under the rubble,” said the local mayor, Veysel

“People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent

The head of Turkey’s seismology institute said hundreds of people could have
been killed.

“We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for
hundreds of lives lost – it could be 500 or 1,000,” said Mustafa Erdik of the
Kandilli Observatory.

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Characteristics and possible evolution of the eruption in El Hierro

On this island, a volcanic eruption occurs fissure and surtseyana type. The volcanic materials could be found taquilitas.

Underwater volcanic eruption continues off the coast of South El Hierro. Eruptive focus closer to the surface of the sea it was located about 150 meters deep. The result of the shallowness on Saturday October 15 began to see the first magmatic material at the sea surface, but stopped a few days after coming to the surface, presumably because the eruptive mouth closed.

The eruption of El Hierro launched at sea pyroclastic

These pyroclastic materials collected by the ships that have come to the point eruption and even coastal areas south of the island rocks are composed of two distinct visually.

Characteristics of the materials recovered from the eruption magmatic

These pyroclasts were formed out of lava 150 meters deep and 2.4 kilometers from the coast El Hierro. On the outside are black and round or oval shaped, but inside is a white, porous material, full of gas bubbles formed by the magma dragged from deeper zones.
The dark material is, according to a preliminary study of non-tip, a taquilita. This type of rock is a volcanic glass formed after rapid cooling of basaltic magma. As for the white material needed more comprehensive analysis.

What kind of volcanic eruption is El Hierro

In addition, the volcanic eruption of El Hierro is fissural type, which means that the lava does go outside along a fracture that can break the surface along a fissure or opening several more or less aligned mouths .

And that is the underwater eruption that takes place on the island of El Hierro appears to have several sources. According to official information would be at least three places that have gone lava and gases.

The lava eruptions of this type of flow with relative ease, ie that are not highly viscous lavas and are not in their composition a high percentage of silica. Basic lavas would.

Surtseyana eruption in El Hierro, the four phases

Also described the surtseyana like rash, by the eruption of Surtsey Island in Iceland. However, in this case the name refers to a volcanic eruption under water near the sea surface and this name affect the eruptive mouths found in shallower waters. The deeper pockets of the underwater eruption does not fall under this denomination.

These eruptions are characterized by four distinct phases. In the first volcanic materials are sea surface as bubbles of lava. Then appear a white column of steam to be followed by explosions caused by the underwater volcano and acquire darker shades. In the fourth stage would form a small island where there would be a fountain of lava that would expand until it ceased to exit.

In the current situation shallower focus of eruptive fissure eruption of El Hierro , which was located about 150 meters deep according to the information given by the PEVOLCA, seems to have closed, although the eruption may continue in deeper areas Building island of El Hierro. However, the volcanic tremor continued on CHIE seismic station that could precisely target the lava is coming out somewhere.

Possible evolution of the volcanic eruption in El Hierro

Thus, the published data on this volcanic phenomenon, although difficult to predict the possible evolution glimpse. The volcanic eruption of El Hierro could be stopped at any time, although in view of the deformation on the island is not expected to be the case in the short term.

It could also continue the rash known foci and in the case of the shallowest, and after passing through the phases of the eruption surtseyana, become an island, but for this last step came to an end would require a large input of magma from below.

If the contribution of magma is higher than the amount of lava that comes out of the different foci or if one of these will be closed for any reason, then it can happen that will open new eruptive mouths, either at sea or on land. If this happened in the sea in shallow areas may be mentioned earlier phases of the eruption surtseyana .

How could last eruption of El Hierro

In any case, the data of deformation and earthquakes in El Hierro which records the IGN, they have not stopped, at least reflect the geological process continues its course, and even may point to the arrival of more magma beneath the island. As for the duration of the volcanic phenomenon , David Calvo, non-tip, aimed at RTVE that could be extended in time but the important thing is the observation and monitoring of underwater eruption near the island to be opened from other sources if any.

Translated by Google. Written by Daniel Martin

Deepest and most explosive underwater eruption ever seen happening near Samoa hotspot

Posted on October 20, 2011 by The Extinction Protocol

SAMOA – An underwater volcano bursting with glowing lava bubbles — the deepest active submarine eruption seen to date — is shedding light on how volcanism can impact deep-sea life and reshape the face of the planet. Submarine eruptions account for about three-quarters of all of Earth’s volcanism, but the overlying ocean and the sheer vastness of the seafloor makes detecting and observing them difficult. The only active submarine eruptions that scientists had seen and analyzed until now were at the volcano NW Rota-1, near the island of Guam in the western Pacific. Now researchers have witnessed the deepest active submarine eruption yet. The volcano in question, West Mata, lies near the islands of Fiji in the southwestern Pacific in the Lau Basin. Here, the rate of subduction — the process in which one massive tectonic plate dives under another, typically forming chains of volcanoes — is the highest on Earth, and the region hosts ample signs of recent submarine volcanism. “It was absolutely stunning and exciting, something we’d never seen on the seafloor before,” researcher Joseph Resing, an oceanographer at the University of Washington in Seattle, told OurAmazingPlanet. This submarine eruption is the deepest seen yet, about 2,200 feet (700 m) deeper than NW Rota-1. This was deeper than scientists had expected to see explosive eruptions. Water pressure goes up the further down you go, “so as pressure goes up, the ability of gas as it comes out of magma to cause explosions is diminished, and the thought was that you wouldn’t get explosive eruptions below about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet),” Resing said. Eruptions at centers of ocean floor spreading — where the majority of eruptions on Earth happen — generally seem to occur in relatively short episodes lasting hours to months, but West Mata appears to have erupted near continuously since it was first observed in 2008. This might be because magma is focused there, instead of being spread across many volcanoes at once. “However, this is a question that we don’t currently know the answer to,” Resing said. –OAP

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Massive Japan Earthquake Altered Earth’s Gravity

Earth gravity map

ESA’s GOCE mission has delivered the most accurate model of the ‘geoid’ ever produced. Red corresponds to points with higher gravity, and blue to points with lower gravity. CREDIT: ESA/HPF/DLR

The devastating earthquake that struck Japan earlier this year was powerful enough to slightly alter the pull of gravity under the affected area, scientists now find.

Anything that has mass has a gravity field that attracts objects toward it. The strength of this field depends on a body’s mass. Since the Earth’s mass is not spread out evenly, this means its gravity field is stronger in some places and weaker in others.

The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki temblor in March was the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan and the fifth-most powerful quake ever recorded. To see how the temblor might have deformed the Earth there, scientists used the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to analyze the area’s gravity field before and after the quake.

The researchers found the Tohoku-Oki quake reduced the gravity field there by an average of two- millionths of a gal by slightly thinning the Earth’s crust. In comparison, the strength of the gravitational pull at the Earth’s surface is, on average, 980 gals. (The gal, short for Galileo, is a unit of acceleration; one gal is defined as one centimeter per second squared.)

“The most important implication of our findings is that the massive Tohoku-Oki earthquake brings significant changes to not only the ground but also the underground structure of Japan,” researcher Koji Matsuo, a geophysicist at Hokkaido University in Japan, told OurAmazingPlanet.

The GRACE satellites had previously detected gravity changes caused by the magnitude 9.1 to 9.3 2004 Sumatra-Andaman quake, the third-most powerful earthquake ever recorded, and the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile in 2010, the eighth-most powerful on record. These reduced the gravity fields in the areas struck in much the same way as the Tohoku-Oki quake, since they were all similar types of earthquakes.

The researchers are now interested in seeing if they can detect post-quake gravity field changes as the crust settles back into place.

Matsuo and his colleague Kosuke Heki detailed their findings online Sept. 22 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Malaysia and 19 other nations to join Tsunami alert test

Published: Friday October 7, 2011 MYT 9:24:00 AM

LONDON: Almost seven years after the devastating tsunami of 2004, over 20 nations including Malaysia will participate in a full-scale exercise to test the operational capacity of the Indian Ocean tsunami alert system on October 12, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

The Exercise ‘IOWAVE 11’ will re-enact the seismic events of December 26, 2004, simulating a 9.2-magnitude quake that occurs northwest coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, sending waves across the Indian Ocean that strike the coast of South Africa 12 hours later.

The test will also include the evacuation of coastal communities in several countries, notably India and Malaysia.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will mark the transition of responsibility for the tsunami warning system with a video address to the authorities of the three countries on the same date.

The exercise aims to evaluate the system’s operational capacity, the efficiency of communications among the different actors, and the state of preparation of national emergency services.

The re-enactment of the seismic events will test the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS), Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as saying in a press release.

Bulletins will be issued by the new Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSPs) in Australia, India and Indonesia, it said.

This exercise, organised under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, will also see responsibility for the issue of advisories handed over to the countries of the region through a new regional tsunami advisory service.

The Indian Ocean nations decided to establish an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System in the wake of the 2004 catastrophe.

They requested that UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission establish an Intergovernmental Coordination Group to provide a governance mechanism for the new system, which became partially operational in 2005, the UNESCO said.

Since then, the Japan Meteorological Agency and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre have issued bulletins to 28 Indian Ocean nations.

They will continue to provide this service until the end of 2012, at which time an evaluation of the new regional advisory service will be carried out.

So far, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France (La Reunion), India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Yemen have signed up for the October 12 test, the UNESCO said.

The 9.2-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killed over 230,000 people in 14 countries.

It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest hit, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Bernama

Ship oil spill spreads, birds found dead: NZ

Attempts to disperse the oil slick from a grounded container ship off Tauranga using chemicals have proved ineffective.

Maritime New Zealand national on-scene commander Rob Service said initial tests had indicated that chemical dispersants were working to dilute a 5-kilometre slick spreading from the 235-metre vessel Rena.

However, further analysis showed that was not the case and officials were now considering other options.

That might include different dispersants, but could also mean an “on-water” recovery operation, where specialist equipment is used to scoop the oil from the surface of the water.

“We will have shoreline assessment teams on Papamoa Beach tomorrow, doing pre-clean surveys, which means identifying vulnerable areas and assessing clean up options,” Mr Service said.

The Rena has been stranded since crashing into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island, about 2.30am yesterday.

Earlier today, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the situation was worse than first thought.

There was a “significant amount of oil” and the vessel could break up due to its “precarious” position on the reef.

Earlier Service said that an aerial survey had confirmed an oil leak from the ship was deeper than expected.

”It’s a thicker layer than first thought,” Service said.

Four birds have been found dead near the slick. It is not yet known what species the birds are.

Service said the spill had spread in a narrow band about 5km from the ship to the northwest.

The leak was from extensively damaged fuel pipes rather than a fuel tank although the equivalent of one tank’s worth of fuel was thought to have leaked from the ship.

It was unknown exactly how much this might be as there was no standard fuel tank size on such vessels, although the Rena was carrying 1700 tonnes of fuel when it struck the reef.

“We are not aware of any actual breaches in the fuel tanks. However, because of the extensive damage to the vessel, it is difficult to determine accurately what the scale and scope of the damage is. The crew are working to prevent further leakage.”

Maritime NZ also today issued legal notices to the Rena’s owners under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 classifying it a hazardous ship and instructing its owners, shipping line MSC, to appoint a salvor.

This does not put MNZ in charge of the salvage but gives it the ability to take control if necessary.

Salvage company Svitzer will manage the salvage operation and went aboard the ship earlier this evening.

Service said he had spoken to the captain of the vessel, but not discussed how the grounding had happened. He said the crew were ”under a great deal of stress and pressure” and plans were being made to evacuate them from the ship if necessary.

A wildlife response team will tonight set up two bases in an attempt to rescue further contaminated birds near the stranded cargo ship.

Oiled Wildlife Response Coordinator Kerri Morgan, from Massey University, said the team has now activated its response plans.

The team’s equipment arrived in Tauranga this afternoon. An oiled wildlife response centre will be set up at the Tauranga Wastewater treatment plant and a further base will be set up on Motiti Island.

Morgan said around 20 people were expected to be settled on the island tonight, ready to begin work at first light tomorrow. The team on the island will include veterinarians.

A team with experience in the capture and treatment of oiled birds would be undertaking beach searches on Motiti Island and the Maketu Peninsula tomorrow morning.

At-risk species near the spill include little blue penguins, shearwaters, New Zealand dotterals and diving petrels. A seal colony was also at risk.

Massey University’s Brett Gartrell, part of the oiled wildlife team, said birds that were covered by the oil had to be rescued and washed or they would die.

“The oil breaks down the thermal qualities of the feathers. The birds normally have a down jacket to keep them warm but the oil stops that from happening so they become very cold,” Gartrell said.

“It also waterlogs the feathers, meaning the birds start to sink and can drown.”

It could also make the birds sick, as they tried to clean their feathers and ended up swallowing the oil, which affected their livers and kidneys.

“The birds cannot survive without intervention. They will die if left in the wild,” Gartrell said.

Mr Service said reports of oil heading towards Tuhua (Mayor) Island, which is a marine reserve, were incorrect.

– Angela Cuming, Kirsty Johnston and Paloma Migone

Sinkhole In Stafford, Va. Threatens Homes

STAFFORD, Va. (WUSA)-- A massive hole in the ground behind two houses along Brush Everard St. inside the Austin Ridge subdivision in Stafford is threatening to swallow the two homes near it.

The Stafford County Fire Marshall has ordered the families of the house stay out until further notice, and the site of the dangerous hole has been fenced off to everyone.

According to neighbors the hole showed up on Saturday and has progressively been getting deeper. On Tuesday neighbors said the hole was more than 12 feet deep and it has already swallowed the two back yards of the homes near it.

Katrina Barnes who lives in one of the two condemned houses said , "it was still moving so fast that they were concerned about the structure and our well being, and every day since we've been coming by it's been getting deeper and deeper."

Some neighbors told 9News they believe the recent earthquake, hurricane, and non-stop rains in the Washington area have irritated what they describe as an already weak foundation due to faulty construction.

Project Flood Nuclear Warnings: 10,000 evacuees prep, 60 buses standby

Across river from the state of Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun Nuclear plant, possibly leaking radiation now, Red Cross is preparing for 10,000 evacuees as a Warning Level 1 has been issued in Project Flood 2011 where the Mighty Missouri River continues swelling, and water is bubbling from the ground near the levee. Tornado sirens are planned to get people out of harms way while over sixty buses standby to haul people if evacuation is mandated.

The Warning includes, “LEVEE MAY BE IMPACTED. MAKE PREPARATIONS TO LEAVE.” Families are packing in Council Bluffs, Omaha, Nebraska after water is forcing sand into their homes according to Action3News.

Although the Omaha based news station made no mention of the nearby nuclear power plant facing catastrophe, Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) that owns the nuclear facility has. On its website, OPPD warned people to not be in the floodwaters due to possible radiation leaking from the nearby nuclear power plant.

Earlier on Saturday, the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) released information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stating that the Obama administration ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding a near catastrophic meltdown of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant.

Weather Underground reports an “Active Advisory: Flood Warning (US Severe Weather) is in effect for the area.

Officials report that if a levee is failing, a Level 2 Warning will be issued.

Evacuation is mandatory if a Level 3 Warning is issued. Tornado sirens will sound if a Level 3 is in effect. City officials advise that if a Level 3 is issue, “Please report to the processing Center located at Iowa Western Community College (unless a different site is advised).”

In the case of a Level 3 Warning, the official advisement is that the “primary evacuation route is (to be announced) and you secondary evacuation route is (to be announced).”

“If you are unable to leave on your own, call 328-4672. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.”

City officials are advising people to register for a Code Red.

“Fire Chief Alan Byers says he can’t tell at this point how bad it will get or how many people will be affected,” reports Action 3 News.

Continue reading on Project Flood Nuclear Warnings: 10,000 evacuees prep, 60 buses standby (vid) – National Human Rights |