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Wed, 28 Sep 2016
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USGS tells Kansans to prep for earthquakes like Californians

© twitter.com
5.8 earthquake strikes Oklahoma, felt in Kansas
Oklahoma's largest earthquake ever still has people talking. Saturday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused only minor damage in Kansas, but officials with the US Geological Survey say it's time for people in the region to start preparing for earthquakes like Californians. Items on your wall or shelves can be hazardous in an earthquake, but there are ways you can protect yourself and your belongings.

"It scared me this time," said Errica Weaver. The morning jolt felt across the region didn't skip Weaver's home. "I ran down the hallway and woke my husband up and I was like 'we're having another earthquake'," said Weaver. [T]he earthquake shook pictures off her wall, and caused drawers to slide out of her bedroom dresser. We took Weaver through the FEMA Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt, a guide to eliminate potential dangers in your home in the event of an earthquake.

FEMA recommends you securely fasten or relocate heavy pictures over beds and furniture. We checked Weaver's home and all wall hangings are in safe places. Another suggestion is to secure cabinets to wall studs, and use latches to keep cabinet doors from flying open during an earthquake. Weaver says that's something she'll have to fix in her own home.

FEMA also recommends strapping down TVs and other expensive or hazardous electronics. FEMA emphasizes making sure all heavy objects are secured inside your home. There are also steps you can take outside the home, such as making sure your house is anchored to its foundation.


Comment: The earthquake ties for Oklahoma's strongest earthquake on record, the first coming in November 2011. No major damage was immediately reported. An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. State regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes in earthquake-prone regions of the state.

Some parts of Oklahoma now match northern California for the nation's most shake prone, and one Oklahoma region has a 1 in 8 chance of a damaging quake in 2016, with other parts closer to 1 in 20. An estimated 10 million people felt the earthquake across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, and Alabama.


Seismograph

Magnitude 5.3 earthquake hits near Skopje, Macedonia

© USGS
Macedonian authorities say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 struck on the outskirts of the capital on Sunday, causing minor damage to buildings but no injuries.

The quake occurred just after 3 p.m. (1300 GMT), seismologist Dragana Cernih from the national seismological observatory told The Associated Press.

She said she received reports of cracks in the walls of buildings or collapsed chimneys, as well as damage to roofs in villages around Skopje. But she said there was no indication of people being injured.

The U.S. Geological Survey also gave the quake a preliminary magnitude of 5.3, with its epicenter about four kilometers east-northeast of Skopje, at a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles). The Potsdam-based German Research Centre for Geosciences, or GFZ, gave a magnitude of 5. Earthquake experts often give different estimates of magnitude.


Wolf

50,000 dog and monkey attacks recorded in 8 months for the city of Agra, India

Terrifying as it sounds, an average of over 201 cases of monkey and dog attacks are reported every day in Agra district. In the eight months from January to August, 48,876 people have been treated for such bites at the district hospital here. The highest number of cases (7,913) were reported in the month of May. Last year, over 38,000 people were treated for animal attacks in Agra.

Speaking to TOI, chief medical superintendent of the district hospital Dr R K Sharma said, "We have apprised the administration about the increasing number of cases. This year the number of victims of dog and monkey attack has almost reached 50,000 already. The situation has worsened and it's the responsibility of the civic body to control the animal population in the district."

Chief veterinary officer of Agra Municipal Corporation Dr Yogesh Sharma said, "We catch 30-40 dogs who are then vaccinated and sterilized by private animal rehabilitation centres such as People For Animals (PFA). Wildlife SOS is making efforts to catch and vaccinate or sterilize monkeys. In the last six months, 401 monkeys have been taken care of."

Last month, given the high number of rabies cases being reported every day in the city, Wildlife SOS submitted a proposal to the administration for opening a clinic and carrying out vaccination and sterilization programme at a cost of Rs 89 lakh. The proposal is under consideration.

Bizarro Earth

Philippines institute warns of 'big' Mayon volcano eruption in coming days

© Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler
Mayon volcano, the Philippines: Volcanologists say magma beneath the so-called 'perfect cone' is building up.
Phivolcs cites 'abnormal activity' such as drying wells, more earthquakes, and increased sulfur dioxide emission of the volcano

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned of a possible "big" Mayon volcano eruption in the coming days.

"Phreatic explosion may happen anytime but a big explosion is expected in the coming days," said Philvolcs resident volcanologist Eduardo Laguerta. Laguerta cited "abnormal activity" similar to what happened prior to the Mayon eruption in 1984.

The 1984 Mayon eruption is classified as a Vulcanian-type eruption which involves relatively small but violent explosions of thick lava producing columns of ash, gas, and occasional pyroclastic flows.

"The massive drying up of wells across Albay, specifically in the municipalities surrounding the volcano, may be attributed to the magma movement activity beneath the restive volcano," Laguerta added. He also cited the 3 consecutive earthquakes in August originating from the Sto Domingo fault line, which can affect volcanic activity.

Laguerta said his office asked geodetic engineers from the Phivolcs central office to conduct a ground survey around the volcano following the earthquakes.

"We noted after the survey, Mayon is inflated, magma beneath the volcano is building up. Deep wells are drying up surrounding the volcano and in several towns here - an implication of abnormal activity," he said.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills three in Pakistan

© 123RF
At least three persons, including a minor boy, were killed and another wounded when lightning hit a house in Madyan area of Swat district on Saturday.

According to the police, the lightning hit a house in Palam village in Madyan, killing two-year-old Sheraz, Bala Nishta, 15, and Niaz, 13.

Another person identified as Usman also sustained injuries and was shifted to Madyan hospital for medical care.

Airplane

Fasten your seat belt - severe turbulence is on the rise

© Alamy
A United Airlines Boeing 767-300, similar to the one forced into an emergency landing at Shannon airport.
Severe turbulence, which recently forced the emergency landing of a transatlantic flight, is on the rise. But why and what can be done?

United Airlines Flight 880 was carrying more than 200 passengers from Houston, Texas, to London's Heathrow airport two weeks ago when it was battered by turbulence that threw people on to the cabin ceiling. Twenty-three people were injured. "We were flying along as smooth as can be and then were just slapped massively from the top as if someone had torpedoed us," one passenger told journalists.

The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, made an emergency landing at Shannon airport and the injured were taken to University Hospital, Limerick. No one was seriously hurt but all went through a terrifying experience and one, say experts, which will increasingly affect flights.

"It is predicted there will be more and more incidents of severe clear-air turbulence, which typically comes out of the blue with no warning, occurring in the near future as climate change takes its effect in the stratosphere," Dr Paul Williams, a Royal Society research fellow at Reading University, said last week.

"There has already been a steady rise in incidents of severe turbulence affecting flights over the past few decades. Globally, turbulence causes dozens of fatalities a year on small private planes and hundreds of injuries to passengers in big jets. And as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere keep on rising, so will the numbers of incidents."

Comment: It is likely that dust loading from increased comet and volcanic activity is contributing to these atmospheric changes. See also: A strange change has occurred in the stratosphere


Tornado1

Why were forecasters off on Hermine's path?

© unknown
Predicting Hermine's path
As late as Sunday morning, meteorologists were warning that Tropical Storm Hermine could wreak havoc along the New Jersey Shore. Yet the promised storm stayed far offshore, kicking up little more on land than some wind and minor flooding -- and complaints from frustrated beach-goers and merchants. What happened?

The short answer: while the science of storm tracking has improved steadily in recent years, it remains subject to a fair amount of uncertainty. On average, the errors in forecasting a storm's location increase by 40 to 50 nautical miles for every day in advance of the point in time that is being predicted, said James L. Franklin, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Looking two days out, forecasts can be off by up to 80 to 90 nautical miles in either direction, on average. Three days, 120 miles or more. That is dramatically better than what forecasters achieved several decades ago, but it is still enough to spell the difference between predicting flooded streets or expecting a relatively normal day.

Comment: Forecast Prediction: Meteorologists will always 'weather' the storm!


Info

Update: At least 11 dead, 192 injured following earthquake in Tanzania


Tanzania is the latest nation to hit by a devastating earthquakes
An earthquake struck near the Ugandan border in northern Tanzania on Saturday afternoon, leaving at least 11 people dead and nearly 200 others injured, officials said.
Damage from near the epicentre of today's 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Tanzania

— NTV UGANDA (@ntvuganda)
The tremor measured 5.7 on the Richter scale and struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.

Comment: See also: Shallow 5.7 magnitude earthquake recorded in Tanzania


Seismograph

Shallow earthquake with magnitude of 4.0-4.2 strikes near Oliver, British Columbia

© Associated Press
An earthquake near Oliver B.C. was felt by many who described the shaking as sustained.
A magnitude 4.0 earthquake was detected by seismic measuring systems near Oliver, B.C., on Saturday morning, with people near the town feeling "sustained shaking" for up to 25 seconds.

Oliver is located in the south of the Okanagan Valley. The quake was centred 21 kilometres east of the town.

People from Grand Forks, B.C., and Washington State — up to 150 kilometres way — felt the shudder.

Earthquakes Canada initially reported the preliminary magnitude at 4.3, but has since reassessed the quake.

The USGS rates the magnitude at 4.2, saying it was triggered five kilometres underground.

Bizarro Earth

Paradise lost: New study finds staggering loss of wilderness areas over past two decades

© Liana Joseph
Researchers have found catastrophic declines in wilderness areas around the world over the last 20 years with losses comprising a tenth of global wilderness - an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon.
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology show catastrophic declines in wilderness areas around the world over the last 20 years. They demonstrate alarming losses comprising a tenth of global wilderness since the 1990s -- an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon. The Amazon and Central Africa have been hardest hit.

The findings underscore an immediate need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness areas and to address the unprecedented threats they face, the researchers say.

"Globally important wilderness areas -- despite being strongholds for endangered biodiversity, for buffering and regulating local climates, and for supporting many of the world's most politically and economically marginalized communities -- are completely ignored in environmental policy," says Dr James Watson of the University of Queensland in Australia and the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York. "Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around. International policy mechanisms must recognize the actions needed to maintain wilderness areas before it is too late. We probably have one to two decades to turn this around."