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Sat, 19 Aug 2017
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Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 8.0 - Santa Cruz Islands

Event Time
2013-02-06 01:12:27 UTC

10.752°S 165.089°E depth=5.8km (3.6mi)

Technical Details


Water leaking into stratosphere could harm ozone

Cirrus clouds in the tropics don't stop water from entering the stratosphere, a new study finds.
Some of the coldest air on the planet lies above the tropics. And through this cold zone, more water than expected sneaks into the higher reaches of the atmosphere, a new study finds.

Upon reaching the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere above the one in which we live, water vapor acts as a potent greenhouse gas and destroys the protective ozone.

"Small changes in the humidity of the stratosphere are important for climate," said Eric Jensen, lead study author and a scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Where the water goes

Because it's difficult to measure, scientists have been unsure how much water passes from the troposphere, the layer of Earth's atmosphere we breathe, into the stratosphere (which runs from about 6 to 31 miles, or 10 to 50 kilometers, above Earth's surface), Jensen said. At the boundary between the two zones, called the tropopause, the air is minus 120 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius).

Researchers suspected water vapor rising into the tropopause would freeze and fall out in wispy cirrus clouds made entirely of ice crystals. In essence, they thought that the tropopause was a cold trap for water, keeping the vapor out of the stratosphere.

"That turned out to be a bit of an over-simplification," Jensen told OurAmazingPlanet.

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.3 - WSW of Lata, Solomon Islands

Event Time
2013-02-06 00:07:22 UTC
2013-02-06 11:07:22 UTC+11:00 at epicenter

10.858°S 165.206°E depth=10.0km (6.2mi)

Nearby Cities
70km (43mi) WSW of Lata, Solomon Islands
559km (347mi) NNW of Luganville, Vanuatu
597km (371mi) ESE of Honiara, Solomon Islands
831km (516mi) NNW of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
1134km (705mi) NNW of We, New CaledoniaTechnical Details


The herring apocalypse: Fish worth millions in exports die in Icelandic lake

© AP
The Dead Sea: Millions of pounds of herring lie dead, believed to have been killed by building work
Stretching as far as the eye can see, dead herring blanket the ground in these chilling pictures taken today.

It is not yet known what is causing the mass fish deaths in Iceland, but today's grim find is the second such occurrence in two months.

The herring, weighing an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes and worth £18.9million, were found floating dead in in Kolgrafafjorour, a small fjord on the northern part of Snæfellsnes peninsula, west Iceland, according to the country's Morgunbladid newspaper.

Bizarro Earth

Weird underwater waves spotted from space

© NASA Earth Observatory
This photograph, taken on Jan. 18 by a crewmember on the International Space Station, shows internal waves north of the Caribbean island of Trinidad.
In the ocean, there are more waves than meet the eye.

Below the whitecaps breaking on the sea surface, so-called internal waves ripple through the water. These waves can travel long distances, but rarely does evidence of their existence surface - unless you're looking down from space, that is.

This photograph, taken on Jan. 18 by a crewmember on the International Space Station, shows internal waves north of the Caribbean island of Trinidad, as featured by NASA's Earth Observatory. From space, the appearance of the waves is enhanced due to reflected sunlight, or sunglint, aimed back at the space station, making the waves visible to an astronaut's camera.

The most prominent waves can be seen in the upper left of the photograph, moving in from the northwest due to tidal flow toward Trinidad, according to the Earth Observatory. Another set can be seen moving in from the northeast, likely created at the edge of the continental shelf, where the seafloor abruptly drops off, the site reported.

Bizarro Earth

Campi Flegrei supervolcano raising anxiety among Italian residents

A restive supervolcano west of Naples is raising nervousness in the local Italian population. The ground of the Campi Flegrei "burning fields," also known as the Phlegraean Fields, has risen more in recent weeks than it has in a long time. This does not necessary indicate a heightened risk of an eruption, however, said Thomas Wiersberg, a scientific drilling expert for the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam. The Phlegraean Fields are a large caldera, or volcanic crater, lying mostly underwater off the Italian coast. The caldera is thought to have been formed by a massive eruption some 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. The last major eruption in the fields of boiling mud and sulphurous steam holes, one of a few dozen super volcanoes worldwide, occurred in 1538.

Wiersberg is part of an international research team that began drilling into the ground not far from the caldera last summer to monitor possible early warning signs of an eruption. The team has drilled a pilot hole to a depth of 500 meters but no data has been gathered yet, Wiersberg said in an interview with dpa. Italy's Department of Civil Protection recently raised the alert level for the Phlegraean Fields, where Wiersberg said the ground was rising by about three centimeters a month. There are concerns that a magma chamber under the fields, presumably connected to the one under Mount Vesuvius, east of Naples, is filling up, the rising pressure possibly heightening the danger of an eruption.

Control Panel

Argentina freezes supermarket prices in attempt to break inflation spiral brought on by skyrocketing food prices


Supermarket looting in Argentina in December 2012
Argentina announced a two-month price freeze on supermarket products Monday in an effort to break spiraling inflation.

The price freeze applies to every product in all of the nation's largest supermarkets - a group including Walmart, Carrefour, Coto, Jumbo, Disco and other large chains. The companies' trade group, representing 70 percent of the Argentine market, reached the accord with Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, the government's news agency Telam reported.

The commerce ministry wants consumers to keep receipts and complain to a hotline about any price hikes they see before April 1.

Polls show Argentines worry most about inflation, which private economists estimate could reach 30 percent this year. The government says it's trying to hold the next union wage hikes to 20 percent, a figure that suggests how little anyone believes the official index that pegs annual inflation at just 10 percent.

Comment: Supermarket looting spreads in Argentina

Arrow Up

Higher than expected food prices increase Turkish inflation in January

Turkish inflation rose in January more than analysts had forecast due to higher food and tobacco prices, data showed on Monday, although the market impact was limited as the central bank had flagged a rise.

The consumer price index rose 1.65 percent month-on-month in January, above a Reuters poll forecast of 1.14 percent, for year-on-year inflation of 7.31 percent, the data from the Turkish statistics institute showed.

The lira stood at 1.7487 against the dollar by 0823 GMT, slightly firming from 1.7494 late on Friday. The yield on the two-year benchmark bond inched down to 5.81 percent from 5.84 percent earlier.

Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci warned last week that there would be a limited rise in January inflation due to tobacco price adjustments. But analysts said food prices also contributed to the increase.

Bizarro Earth

Potential for 'superquakes' underestimated, recent earthquakes show

© U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Philip A. McDaniel
A village near the coast of Sumatra lays in ruin, Jan. 2, 2005, as a result of the tsunami that struck South East Asia Dec. 26, 2004.
The earthquakes that rocked Tohoku, Japan in 2011, Sumatra in 2004 and Chile in 1960 - all of magnitude 9.0 or greater - should not have happened, according to seismologist's theories of earthquake cycles. And that might mean earthquake prediction needs an overhaul, some researchers say.

All three earthquakes struck along subduction zones, where two of Earth's tectonic plates collide and one dives beneath the other. Earlier earthquakes had released the pent-up strain along Chile's master fault, meaning no big quakes were coming, scientists had thought. Japan and Sumatra both sat above on old oceanic crust, thought to be too stiff for superquakes.

And records of past quakes, combined with measurements of the speed of Earth's tectonic plates, suggested the Tohoku and Sumatra-Andaman regions couldn't make quakes larger than 8.4, almost nine times smaller than a magnitude 9.0 temblor.

"These areas had been written off as places incapable of producing a great earthquake," said Chris Goldfinger, a marine geologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

But the events of 1960, 2004 and 2011 showed that these faults were capable of producing some of the most destructive earthquakes in recorded history, suggesting earthquake researchers need to re-think aspects of how they evaluate a fault's earthquake potential.

"It's time to come up with something new," Goldfinger told OurAmazingPlanet.

Bizarro Earth

Seismologist warns of megathrust earthquake threat for New Zealand

Less than 100km off the coast of Hawke's Bay is a deep-water trench that could be the site of a potential megathrust earthquake similar to the 2011 Japan earthquake, says seismologist Kevin Furlong.

Despite the Hikurangi Trench's potential, he said very little was known about the underwater valley, where the Pacific plate was dragged underneath the Australian plate.

Professor Furlong, of Pennsylvania State University, said the worst-case scenario for the East Coast was not yet known.

"Many, if not most, scientists working on these megathrust earthquake plate boundaries would argue that, although it is very, very unlikely, until we can demonstrate otherwise we should expect that major segments of these boundaries could rupture simultaneously.

"Most of the time, as was the case in Japan for the past several hundred years at least, segments rupture individually and so maximum earthquakes are in the mid-to high magnitude 7 range. But on rare occasions, such as in 2011 in Japan, bigger ruptures can occur.