Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Epic storm turns day into night in Belarusian city


An "apocalyptical" storm swept through several regions in Belarus, including the capital. But it was in the city of Soligorsk where clouds as black as ink obscured the sun light, while strong winds ushered in a sand storm.

Soligorsk residents, about 120 kilometers from the capital Minsk, were both scared and excited by the weather phenomenon that hit Belarus on Monday. At around 17:00 local time, darkness descended on the city with over 100,000 residents opting to stay indoors.


Four dead in massive flooding in Southern US; rockslides close roads in West Virginia, Kentucky

Flash flooding in Irondale, Alabama.
Heavy rain continues to affect the South and the Gulf Coast, bringing fatal flash flooding to Louisiana and stranding drivers on impassable roads across multiple states. Water rescues have been ongoing in parts of Kentucky and West Virginia as more unwanted heavy rain swamps the soggy region.

Louisiana has been particularly hard hit by the flooding and at least three people died Tuesday. Three-year-old Remy Dufrene died after floodwaters swept the boy into a drainage ditch in Lafourche Parish. In Kenner, Louisiana, a mother and her daughter drowned after their SUV veered off the road and submerged in a local, rain-swollen canal, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office confirms.

A Kentucky man was found dead in a creek after search and rescue teams located his submerged vehicle.

"Impulses of upper-level energy combined with plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will keep the South unsettled through the end of the week. As a result, the threat of localized flooding will continue in parts of the region where rain or thunderstorms persist in any one location for too long," meteorologist Chris Dolce said.

The storms also created a dangerous situation when lightning ignited a few storage tanks in western Texas Sunday night, according to The Associated Press. Hundreds of miles away, a mother and daughter were injured by a lightning strike in Macclenny, Florida.

Here are the latest impacts from several of the states affected by this round of flooding.


Experts warn North Korea's Mount Baekdu poised for eruption

© Flickr/zaruka
Mount Baekdu
Mt. Baekdu, (Mount Paektu ) the symbolically charged volcano straddling North Korea and China, could erupt again soon, a study warns. Professor Yoon Sung-hyo of Pusan National University says there are indications that the volcano, though quiet for decades, could erupt any time and urged closer monitoring of the situation. The last eruptive activity at the volcano occurred in 1903, though prior past eruptions were among some of the largest in recorded history.

He says the concentration of helium in the volcano has been rising over the last decade or so, and magma levels are creeping up. Yoon has been warning of another eruption since 2010, the first Korean to add his voice to a growing chorus of regional seismologists.
Source: Chosun Media


5.2 magnitude earthquake hits Japan's Northeast coast

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake has struck off the Northeast coast of Japan. The shallow quake occurred at a depth of about 10 km (6.2) miles under the sea, near the Japanese Trench. Japan and the surrounding islands straddle four major tectonic plates: Pacific plate; North America plate; Eurasia plate; and Philippine Sea plate. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, beneath Hokkaido and northern Honshu, along the eastern margin of the Okhotsk microplate, a proposed subdivision of the North America plate. Farther south, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath volcanic islands along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This 2,200 km-long zone of subduction of the Pacific plate is responsible for the creation of the deep offshore Ogasawara and Japan trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of Circumpacific island arcs. Similarly, the Philippine Sea plate is itself subducting under the Eurasia plate along a zone, extending from Taiwan to southern Honshu that comprises the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto trench.

Subduction zones at the Japanese island arcs are geologically complex and produce numerous earthquakes from multiple sources. Deformation of the overriding plates generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the interface of the plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Japanese arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific and Philippine Sea plates and can reach depths of nearly 700 km. Since 1900, three great earthquakes occurred off Japan and three north of Hokkaido. They are the M8.4 1933 Sanriku-oki earthquake, the M8.3 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, the M9.0 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the M8.4 1958 Etorofu earthquake, the M8.5 1963 Kuril earthquake, and the M8.3 1994 Shikotan earthquake.

Comment: See also: SOTT Exclusive: Mass whale beaching in Japan is a reminder of Earth-changing events surrounding the 2011 earthquake and tsunami

The planet seems to be opening up! See below for earthquakes reported so far in the month of April:


Hekla volcano in Iceland shaken by earthquake swarm

Small earthquake swarms occurred at shallow depths during the past days near the volcano. The quakes were located approx. 6-10 km south of Hekla volcano and at shallow depths around 5 km.
The largest quakes were two magnitude 2.6 events at 4 km depth on Thursday (9 April). It is impossible to say whether the earthquakes are linked to volcanic activity and thus might be precursors of a new eruption, but Hekla is probably the most likely candidate volcano for the next eruption to occur on Iceland.
One of the country's most active, and the most frequently erupting volcano, Hekla has been believed to be "due" and have its magma chamber filled for several years now. Known for not giving much precursory signals (and only few earthquakes), an eruption would not be a surprise at all.

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): After less than two weeks pause, the volcano started to erupt again - mild strombolian explosions at the summit crater and small ash emissions.


Mount Zao volcano shaken by swarm of twelve earthquakes


Mt Zao
Fears of fresh eruption of Mount Zao, a volcano that sits on the border of the Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures, rattled Japan after the country's meteorological agency recorded 12 volcanic earthquakes on Tuesday.

The seismic activity prompted warnings of a volcanic eruption, with the agency asking the public to stay safe from falling rocks in a 1.2 km radius of the volcano, The Japan Times reported.

The agency said that ash from the eruption can even reach beyond the radius, causing panic after last year's deadly volcanic eruption of Mount Ontake, which erupted without warning on 27 September and killed 60 people.

The meteorological agency has advised neighbouring towns to raise alert levels in the areas close to the volcano.

The warning will affect business at a popular ski resort, as well as mountain trails and restaurants.

Bizarro Earth

Cyprus struck by 5.6 magnitude earthquake

The earthquake was mainly felt in Cyprus' west

Cyprus has been hit by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake struck just off the Mediterranean island's west coast, about four miles from the village of Peyia.

It was mainly felt in the western Paphos region, but also in the capital Nicosia at 11.25am local time.

Paphos district officer Yiannakis Mallourides reported no major damage to structures or injuries, but said authorities are monitoring the situation.

@michelleuk87 wrote on Twitter: "So weird feeling the #earthquake in #Cyprus this morning whilst on my sunbed. #nicosia"

Arrow Down

US: Sinkhole closes highway in California

© Rob Varela
One lane of Highway 118 in Saticoy is expected to remain closed until Thursday as crews work to repair a sinkhole in the area, officials said Tuesday.

The sinkhole, about 5 feet deep and 10 feet wide, was caused by a leak from a reinforced concrete drainage pipe joint, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans officials said water inside the pipe will be removed, the break will be patched and the void will be filled with concrete slurry.

Comment: For a look at the 58 sinkholes that have opened up in the past month, around the globe, check out SOTT Worldview:


US: Water spout sighted on Bull Shoals Lake

© Unknown
The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado, also known as a water spout, was sighted on Bull Shoals Lake during a severe thunderstorm Tuesday night in Marion County. Observation Program Leader Dave Scheibe from the National Weather Service Office in North Little Rock told KTLO Radio a weather observer reported seeing the tornado on Bull Shoals Lake four miles east of Diamond City at 7:11 p.m.

Marion County Director of Emergency Management Keith Edmonds says local citizens captured a photo of the funnel cloud.

Comment: To see a water spout in action, check out this video of one in Brazil:


Dead sperm whale found on beach in Pacifica, California

© Edgar Teran
The dead sperm whale found on Sharp Park State Beach
Biologists are heading to the San Mateo coast Wednesday morning to try and determine what killed an endangered sperm whale.

The 50-feet sperm whale was found bleeding from its head and into the water along at Mori Point on the south end of Sharp Park State Beach in Pacifica Tuesday.

On Wednesday, scientists from the Marine Mammal Center and the Academy of Sciences will perform a necropsy. They'll have their work cut out for them since adult sperm whales can get up to 50 tons in size.

It's unknown at this point if they will then leave the decomposing whale ashore or tow it out to sea.

Whale strandings are fairly rare. The Center said they do not see many stranded animals of this species, dead or alive, on shore.