Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 06 Feb 2016
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes
Map

Attention

Update: Researchers think Gulf of Alaska seabird die-off is biggest ever recorded; at least 22,000 dead

© David Irons/USFWS
Dead Murres line a beach in Prince William Sound
The mass of dead seabirds that have washed up on Alaska beaches in past months is unprecedented in size, scope and duration, a federal biologist said at an Anchorage science conference.

The staggering die-off of common murres, the iconic Pacific seabirds sometimes likened to flying penguins, is a signal that something is awry in the Gulf of Alaska, said Heather Renner, supervisory wildlife biologist at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

"We are in the midst of perhaps the largest murre die-off ever recorded," Renner told the Alaska Marine Science Symposium on Thursday. While there have been big die-offs of murres and other seabirds in the past, recorded since the 1800s, this one dwarfs most of them, Renner said.

"This event is almost certainly larger than the murres killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill," she said.

After that spill -- at the time, the nation's largest -- about 22,000 dead murres were recovered by crews conducting extensive beach searches in the four months after the tanker grounding, according to the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council, the federal-state panel that administers funds paid to settle spill-related claims for natural-resource damages.

Now, hundreds and thousands of dead murres are turning up on a wide variety of Alaska beaches, including nearly 8,000 discovered this month on a mile-long stretch in Whittier, she said. A preliminary survey in Prince William Sound has already turned up more than 22,000 dead murres there, she said. Starving, dying and dead murres are showing up far from their marine habitat, in inland places as distant as Fairbanks, hundreds of miles from the Gulf of Alaska coast, making the die-off exceptionally large in geographic scale.

Even if she weren't an expert, the bird die-off would be obvious to Renner. She lives in Homer, where the beaches are "littered" with murre carcasses, she said.


Question

Over 500 camels killed by mysterious disease in Kenya

© Ken Bett / NATION MEDIA GROUP
A herder waters his camels in Marsabit on January 25, 2016. Herders in the county are counting loses following an outbreak of a mysterious disease that has so far killed over 500 camels.
Herders in Marsabit County are counting loses following an outbreak of a mysterious disease that is killing camels.

Bubisa and Shuur in Marsabit North Sub-County are the worst hit by the calamity with ward representative Pius Yatani describing the situation as alarming.

"I received the report on January 19 on the deaths and so far more than 500 camels have perished. I believe the disease may have erupted earlier,'' said Turbi-Bubisa Ward Rep.

Mr Yatani said he had appealed to the county government for urgent intervention.

He said a team of vets was already on the ground supplying vaccines donated by the county government to the pastoralists.

Cloud Precipitation

150,000 homes without power, gusts up to 115mph as El Nino storm hits Southern California

© Mark Ralston / AFP
People watch as El Nino generated storm waves crash onto seaside houses at Mondos Beach, California.
Over 150,000 US households were left without electricity as gusts of an El Nino-driven storm downed trees and power poles is Southern California. Gusts of wind up to 115mph were recorded, with locals taking to social media to share the aftermath.

The storm, accompanied by heavy rain, hit the west coast, causing massive outages and flooding on Sunday night.

Bizarro Earth

The really big one: The next full Cascadia rupture will spell the worst natural disaster in North American history

© CHRISTOPH NIEMANN; MAP BY ZIGGYMAJ / GETTY
The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.
When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh. Earthquakes are common in Japan—that one was the third of the week—and the participants were, after all, at a seismology conference. Then everyone in the room checked the time.

Seismologists know that how long an earthquake lasts is a decent proxy for its magnitude. The 1989 earthquake in Loma Prieta, California, which killed sixty-three people and caused six billion dollars' worth of damage, lasted about fifteen seconds and had a magnitude of 6.9. A thirty-second earthquake generally has a magnitude in the mid-sevens. A minute-long quake is in the high sevens, a two-minute quake has entered the eights, and a three-minute quake is in the high eights. By four minutes, an earthquake has hit magnitude 9.0.

When Goldfinger looked at his watch, it was quarter to three. The conference was wrapping up for the day. He was thinking about sushi. The speaker at the lectern was wondering if he should carry on with his talk. The earthquake was not particularly strong. Then it ticked past the sixty-second mark, making it longer than the others that week. The shaking intensified. The seats in the conference room were small plastic desks with wheels. Goldfinger, who is tall and solidly built, thought, No way am I crouching under one of those for cover. At a minute and a half, everyone in the room got up and went outside.

Comment: There are signs all over the place that there is something "happening" in the Pacific Northwest that could lead to this disaster:


Camera

Scientists film rare eruption of remote Antarctic volcano

© Pete Harmsen
Big Ben has erupted at least three other times in the past 15 years
Australian scientists have witnessed the rare eruption of an Antarctic volcano off the coast of the frozen continent.

The scientists, from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), filmed the volcanic event by chance while aboard research vessel "Investigator" studying the fringe of Antarctica's Heard Island.

The crew, working in conjunction with the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), were actually looking to study underwater volcanoes before the land-based variety caught their attention.

Heard Island, a remote sub-Antarctic region, is home to Big Ben, an active volcano which is believed to have only erupted three times since the turn of the century.

Given the island's isolation, viewing Big Ben - which is mostly covered in ice throughout the year - during an eruption is considered a geoscientific rarity. Often, satellite images provide the only evidence that an eruption has occurred.


Fire

Los Angeles gas well leak critical - Methane apparently erupting from multiple sites

© Data LDEO-Columbia/NSF/NOAA/Google Image/Landsat
Experts Boston University Professor Nathan Phillips and Bob Ackley of Gas Safety drove a high precision GIS-enabled natural gas analyzer down the roads around the gas leak to create these images. The level of natural gas is shown by the height. The data is from Jan 8th to 13th, 2016.
A catastrophic disaster is now taking place outside of Los Angeles endangering hundreds of thousands of people. Officials say they have "entirely lost control of the entire (gas) field" meaning explosive methane gas is now leaking from "many places." Workers at the scene of the Porter Ranch gas field in the Aliso Canyon say some of the leaks are so loud, the hissing sound can be heard 1/2 mile away.


Comment: This quote appears to be taken from a local attorney who was present at a Porter Ranch town hall meeting on January 22nd.


If this continues, multiple massive explosions are very likely to take place once the methane comes into contact with the pilot light of a stove, or hot water heater. This could set off "rolling explosions a few hundred feet in the air, knocking down all the houses and buildings nearby as it goes!"

Worse, toxic benzene is now also confirmed to be coming out of the ground and entering the atmosphere in such large quantities, that people can be killed merely from walking through it. Benzene can be absorbed through the skin. Once a sufficient amount enters the body, there is no treatment and no cure; all the person can do is wait to die.

The graphic above was made from actual measurements of Benzene; the higher the red color goes, the worse the concentration. Fatal levels are the highest ones near the well and gas field.

Attention

'Very large, significant avalanche' near McBride, British Columbia kills five snowmobilers

© CBC News
'Very large, significant avalanche event' reported in North Rockies.
An avalanche near McBride, B.C., has killed five snowmobilers, say local authorities.

RCMP say they were notified of two separate GPS beacon activations in the Renshaw area east of McBride around 1:30 p.m. PT, at which point they activated the Robson Valley Search and Rescue Team. There were at least three separate groups of snowmobilers caught in the slide, say RCMP. Six to eight people lost their snowmobiles and had to be shuttled off the mountain.

"We are a small and mostly tight-knit community," McBride Coun. Sharon Reichert said. "We live in a rugged country where many in the community enjoy the outdoors. That comes with danger, and today, our worst fears have been realized." RCMP said search and rescue technicians were on the scene almost immediately, and a helicopter was deployed.

© Canadian Press
This photo taken near Fernie, B.C., on Dec. 30, 2008, shows the area where several avalanches killed eight snowmobilers.
Donita Kuzma, the regional coroner with the BC Coroners Service, said police conducted interviews with people as they came down the mountain to see if there were any other snowmobilers still missing. "It's a very busy time of year with snowmobilers," said Kuzma, adding that there were many of them in the area for the weekend. BC Emergency Health Services said it also transported one person to hospital in stable condition.

Human-triggered avalanche

Avalanche Canada said it had received a report of what appears to be a "very large, significant avalanche event" in the North Rockies. "There are layers of concern in the snowpack in many parts of this region (and others) and a fairly significant weather event added rain and snow to the snowpack over the last few days," said Karl Klassen with Avalanche Canada.

"This may have produced stresses in the snowpack capable of producing large avalanches and this condition could take several days to settle and bond." Klassen said the avalanche was human-triggered.

Arrow Down

Hikers nearly swept away by landslide on Mount Aconcagua, Argentina


Rockslide surprised hikers on Mount Aconcagua, Argentina.
This is the terrifying moment a spectacular rockslide surprised hikers on Mount Aconcagua, Argentina.

The creepy landslide video was captured on january 4, 2016, on the path linking Horcones park entrance) and Confluence (first base of the Aconcagua field).

Here a first video of the event from January 4, 2016:


The second video was posted by the guides on January 21, 2016:


Snowflake Cold

Cold weather results in rare snowfalls for tropical Laos

© www.namet.org
White-dusted tropical foliage is seen at the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park in Laos.
Snow has been reported across forested upland areas in northern Laos as the extreme cold snap and associated precipitation persisting across much of Indochinese Peninsula since Sunday begins to ease, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Temperatures in the low single digits Celsius during the day and around zero degrees or below at night since Sunday were accompanied by snow across elevated areas of the country's northern provinces.

The cold snap led to a temporary three-day suspension of domestic flights by the national carrier Lao Airlines between the capital Vientiane and the airport servicing the province of Oudoumxay while flights to other affected provincial centres faced delays, state-run media Vientiane Times reported.

In the province of Phongsaly, three-day extended leave was provided to public servants except police and defence personnel until Wednesday to help minimise the risks to life from unnecessary travel.


Snowflake Cold

Mexico hit by polar air mass: State of emergency declared in 446 municipalities


Galeana, Nuevo León, where roofs have been collapsing under the snow.
Residents in many parts of Mexico might decide to remain in their homes for this long weekend as heavy rains, strong winds, some snow and cold temperatures are forecast for many regions.

In fact, the national Civil Protection office has declared an "extraordinary emergency" in 446 municipalities in 23 states, brought on by cold front No. 34 and the eighth winter storm of the season.

The declaration will make resources available for the emergency supply of food and blankets to an estimated half a million people from Chihuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south.

The cold front´s mass of polar air is covering much of the country, guaranteeing cold to very cold weather for the weekend. Sleet or wet snow are forecast for areas 3,500 meters above sea level in the State of México, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Hidalgo and Veracruz and winds gusting to 70 km/h in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.