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Fri, 28 Jul 2017
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Earth Changes


Earthquake measuring 4.5 recorded at Katla, Iceland's most powerful volcano

© mbl.is/Sigurður Bogi Sævarsson
Katla is an active volcano underneath the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap.

To top of today's series of earthquakes, a quake measuring 4.5 occurred at the mother of all volcanoes in Iceland, Katla tonight at around 10.30 pm. Another earthquake measuring 3.2 occurred a little later. Both eruptions were felt in nearby areas.

A specialist on duty tonight at the Iceland Met Office says that the earthquakes are nothing to worry about. It's quite usual to have a few tremors when the ice cap melts in summer.

There is no connection between the earthquake in Katla tonight and the series of earthquakes occuring in Reykjanes today.

Comment: See also: Swarm of over 500 earthquakes recorded in Reykjanes, Iceland


Swarm of over 500 earthquakes recorded in Reykjanes, Iceland

© Ragnar Axelsson
Reykjanes is an area of great geothermal power.
The swarm of earthquakes that originate in Fagradalsfjall mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula are on the decreased. A few earthquakes occurred this morning but they're diminishing.

According to the Iceland Met Office, over 500 earthquakes have been measured in the swarm which began yesterday morning at 7 am. Three earthquakes were clearly felt in Reykjavik, especially the one at 13:55 which measured 4.1.

Geophysicist Páll Einarsson said speaking to today's Morgunblaðið that the earthquakes are at the point where the tectonic plates meet. He said that although earthquakes in Reykjanes are common, the swarm yesterday was one of the biggest that they've measured in a few years.


Forest fires in Indonesia: 5 provinces declare state of emergency

© Antara Foto
Resident drives motorcycle through haze as peatland fires at Suak Raya village in Aceh Barat, Indonesia Aceh province, Jul 24, 2017
Five Indonesian provinces have declared states of emergency as peatlands burn in Aceh and the risk of fires spreading elsewhere increases during the annual dry season, an official said Wednesday.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 18 helicopters have been deployed to help extinguish fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Satellite images show that the number of fires increased from 150 on Sunday to 179 on Tuesday, he said.

Nugroho said the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and South Kalimantan have declared emergencies in anticipation of a worsening of the fires and to mitigate the choking smoke that peatlands generate when burned.


Pacific storms set for 'Fujiwhara effect' dance

© Weather Channel
Current Infrared Satellite Image

The highest cloud tops, corresponding to the most vigorous convection, are shown in the dark red and pink colors. Clustering, deep convection is a sign of a developing tropical cyclone.
A pair of Pacific tropical systems is about to begin a bizarre, circular dance known as the Fujiwhara effect, generating high surf along the Southern California coast just days after a similar interaction involving separate tropical cyclones in the western Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Hilary and Tropical Storm Irwin, are, fortunately, no threat to Mexico's Pacific coast.

Their centers are now sufficiently close - about 600 miles apart - that a phenomenon meteorologists call the Fujiwhara effect kicks in.

Named after a Japanese researcher who discovered this in experiments with water in the early 1920s, the Fujiwhara effect details how two tropical cyclones less than 900 miles apart rotate counter-clockwise about one another.

Think of the teacup ride at Disney or the Tilt-a-Whirl at your local county fair, but with tropical systems instead. In the teacup ride, adjacent teacups can not only spin, but revolve about each other.

In this case, Irwin, the westernmost storm of the pair, has temporarily stalled, but will soon get pulled north and will revolve counterclockwise around the circulation of Hilary this weekend, according to the latest forecast guidance.

Comment: Eight tropical cyclones spinning simultaneously in the north Pacific Ocean for first time since 1974

Cloud Precipitation

Storm hurls hail the size of walnuts, eggs, tennis and golf balls in southern Manitoba

© David Mathews
Alexander, a community just west of Brandon, had hail the size of walnuts and eggs, Environment Canada reports
Summer thunderstorms rumbled through southern Manitoba overnight, pounding parts of the province with hailstones as big as tennis balls.

But in most places, the storm system didn't leave much rain. It was more about the bombast — a show of lightning and thunder, Environment Canada reports.

"I don't think there was any flooding-type rain out of this system," said Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Baggaley.

"The most serious event was the hail."

The storms were all part of the same weather system, which began in the southwest corner of the province Monday evening and rolled out the southeast corner just before 7 a.m. Tuesday.


Mako shark jumps on board fishing boat off Long Island, New York

The Mako shark writhes around on the deck of the boat with its body trapped beneath the guard-rail
An incredible video has emerged of a huge shark trying to wiggle from a fishing boat after jumping on board.

In the clip, taken off the coast of Long Island in New York state, fisherman look on in horror as the mako shark writhes around on the deck of the boat with its body trapped beneath the guard-rail.

The shark's mouth become bloodied after it had bit the rail several times as it struggles to release itself.

The sea creature was only released after an innovative idea from one of the crew members paid off.

Captain Don Law, from Outlaw Fishing Charters, tied rope around the shark's fin while another crew member kept its head facing the ocean by hooking it with fishing line.


Gigantic jets captured near Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Every night, the Gemini cloudcam atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii monitor storms approaching some of the world's largest telescopes. It often captures bright bolts of lightning lancing down to the ground below the towering dormant volcano.

On July 24th it captured something lancing up:

© Frankie Lucena
"This amazing lightning-like phenomenon is known as a Gigantic Jet," says Frankie Lucena of Puerto Rico, who processed the video. "They are related to sprites, but more powerful and easier to see with the naked eye."

Cloudcam video caught at least three of these jets springing from the tops of a powerful growing thunderstorm. The tallest of them reached all the way to the ionosphere some 80 km overhead.

"Gigantic Jets are much more rare than sprites," says Oscar van der Velde, a member of the Lightning Research Group at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "While sprites were discovered in 1989 and have since been photographed by the thousands, it was not until 2001-2002 that Gigantic Jets were first recorded from Puerto Rico and Taiwan." Only a few dozen Gigantic Jets have ever been seen, mostly over open ocean.

Cloud Lightning

'Just looked like a war zone': 10 cattle killed by lightning on Prince Edward Island, Canada

© Blair Henry
One of 10 Simmental cross-bred cattle, found dead on Blair Henry's farm Saturday.
A farmer in Vernon Bridge, P.E.I., said last weekend's stormy weather is to blame for the deaths of 10 of his beef cattle.

"It didn't feel too good ... just looked like a war zone," Blair Henry said. "Not a mark on them."

'We could see something was wrong'

Henry said about 40 cows and 30 to 35 calves were in his field during the storm. Those killed appeared to have taken shelter under a row of tall spruce trees along a fence line, where his field slopes down to the shore of Vernon River.

He says two electrical storms swept through the area — one around 9 p.m. Friday — and another in the early hours of Saturday.

"A lot of thunder and lightning. It was very close by times," Henry said. "It was quite loud."

Cloud Lightning

Teenager killed by lightning in Houston County, Alabama

A Houston County teenager struck by lightning at his home on Willie Varnum Road has died.

Houston County Coroner Robert Byrd said Aron Eugene Dunn, 16, had stepped out on the back porch about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when the lightning struck.

"It looks like it ran down the tree, jumped from the tree to him," Byrd said. The lightning went through Dunn's body and exited his foot to the ground.

Rescue workers worked on the victim at the scene for about 15 or 20 minutes before transporting him to Southeast Alabama Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead, Byrd said.


Thousands of tiny red crabs wash up on Catalina Island, California

© Cindy Yamanaka
Thousands of tiny red crabs wash ashore on Catalina Island
A trip to Catalina Island this week became a lesson in marine biology, with tiny red crabs washing ashore in the thousands and dozens of kids working tirelessly to try to save them by returning them to the sea.

Micah Stovall, of Huntington Beach, took a quick vacation to Catalina with family in town from Tennessee when they noticed the small creatures along the shore and in the shallow waters at the main beach in Avalon.

Stovall knew right away what they were: small crabs that look like tiny lobsters or crawfish. He had ventured with his family two years ago to Balboa Island in Newport Beach when hundreds of thousands of them blanketed the shore.

The Pleuroncodes planipes, also known as pelagic red crabs or tuna crabs, are about one to three inches long. They are usually found off Baja, but warm water in the past few years has pushed them up to Southern California in large numbers, especially along the Orange County coastline. Before then, the crabs hadn't been seen in the area for decades.