Earth ChangesS


Mass of magma pooling beneath ground north of Grindavík, Iceland indicates imminent eruption

volcano reykjanes iceland
© NurPhoto/Contributor via Getty ImagesA volcano is spewing lava and smoke as it erupts on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula on Jan. 14, 2024.
Magma continues to accumulate in a chamber beneath Svartsengi and has now reached levels thought to have triggered the volcanic eruption that sent lava flowing into Grindavík on Jan. 14.

The risk of a volcanic eruption on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula is once again growing as magma continues to pool in the area 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) north of the fishing town of Grindavík, according to the Icelandic Met Office (IMO).

An estimated 318 million cubic feet (9 million cubic meters) of magma now sits beneath Svartsengi, which is home to the Blue Lagoon resort and Svartsengi geothermal power plant. That's equivalent to the volume of around 3,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

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SOTT Focus: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - January 2024: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

2024 started with a bang: A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck western Japan, destroying and collapsing buildings, causing fires, and knocking out infrastructure on Japan's main island of Honshu just as families were celebrating New Year's Day. More than 33,400 people were in evacuation centers and at least 200 buildings collapsed. Some 30,000 households were without power and more than 110,000 were without running water. The death toll rose to over 200, with more than 100 still unaccounted for. Strong aftershocks buried more homes and blocked roads vital for aid deliveries.

Record freezing conditions caused widespread disruption around the world in January. In the US, all 50 states were hit by heavy snowfall at the same time this season; 55% of the continental US was covered in snow - an unprecedented event. This caused widespread travel disruption, thousands of canceled flights, power outages, and damaged infrastructure nationwide.

Cloud Lightning

Videos emerge from California show residents battling debris flows, mudslides, historic flooding

california rainfall flood mudslides
© Screenshot/Twitter/AccuWeather/BrandonClement/WxChasingCalifornia suffered extreme amounts of precipitation throughout the state on February 5-6, 2024
A series of utterly absurd videos emerged online Monday through Tuesday morning of the devastating storms plaguing the West Coast.

An enormous "Pineapple Express" atmospheric river struck California on Sunday night, sending extreme amounts of precipitation throughout the state. The impacts are widespread, including floods, mudslides and debris flows.

One video captured in Beverly Hills shows what appears to be several feet of mud, dirt and sludge coating an entire block. Cars were clearly trapped within the deluge, which showed very little signs of stopping.


Nova Scotia buried under up to 5 feet of snow from days-long snowstorm

Heavy snow pummeled coastal areas of Nova Scotia in Canada over the weekend as a strong low-pressure system stalled just off the Canadian Maritimes.

Widespread snow totals of well over a foot were observed across the province as the storm pummeled the region from Friday into Monday. A volunteer observer in Sydney, Nova Scotia, reported 59 inches of snow, according to Environment Canada. The official observation in town reported just over 40 inches.

Halifax's airport recorded just over 33 inches of snow during the storm, with widespread totals of 12-16 inches in the heart of town.

"I assure you we will dig out. It will take time, but we will dig out," Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said during a news conference Monday. "It has certainly been a historic snow event."

Comment: See also: Nova Scotia, Canada digging out after historic snowfall


A trillion cicadas will descend on the US this spring in rare event

Periodical cicadas belonging to two separate broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, will emerge together in a dual emergence event that will see a trillion cicadas buzzing across 16 U.S. states.
© Don Cornett via Getty ImagesA Brood X periodical cicada. There are 12 known broods of 17-year cicadas and three broods of 13-year cicadas.
More than a trillion cicadas could emerge throughout the U.S. Midwest and Southeast this spring as the schedules of two separate broods align for the first time since 1803.

Brood XIII and Brood XIX represent two distinct groups of periodical cicadas (Magicicada) that emerge according to 17- and 13-year life cycles, respectively. In a rare natural event that occurs once every 221 years, these two broods will synchronously tunnel through the ground to the surface starting in late April across 16 states.

The event, known as a dual emergence, could potentially lead the two broods to interbreed, experts told The New York Times.

"Under just the right circumstances and with just the right number of individuals cross breeding, you have the possibility of the creation of a new brood set to a new cycle," Floyd Shockley, an entomologist and collections manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told the Times.

Periodical cicadas, which comprise seven species, spend most of their lives underground as nymphs and feed off of sap that oozes from tree roots. After 13 or 17 years starved of daylight (depending on the species), the insects burrow to the surface using their front legs and transform into adults. The males vibrate membranes on the sides of their bodies to produce a song — potentially louder than a plane in a chorus — that attracts mates, according to The New York Times. Once a pair has finished mating, the females cut slits in tree branches to lay their eggs in.


Storm dumps 3 FEET of snow in 24 hours on Mammoth Mountain, California

This morning, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California, issued a "dump alert" amidst a heavy storm that's deposited 33 to 36 inches of snow in the past 24 hours.

The storm cycle, which began in full over the weekend, has dropped between 39 and 43 inches of snow so far. With continued snowfall expected at Mammoth today, the resort anticipates it may "reach almost 4 feet in just 2-days."

As you might expect, the arrival of heavy snow has led to operational adjustments for Mammoth this morning.

"Expect delays this morning as operations assess conditions, dig out, and work to safely open terrain and lifts," the resort wrote on Instagram. Extensive avalanche control efforts are underway, with Mammoth hoping to open the lower mountain and portions of the mid-mountain today.


Shape of dragon appears after snow in the Taklamakan Desert, China

The Taklamakan Desert hinterland in Bazhou County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has ushered in its first snowfall of 2024, when the shape of a dragon appeared on the vastness of the desert covered in white.


Floods and landslides hit Java, Indonesia

The road in Grobogan Regency, Central Java, experienced flooding due to high rainfall and overflowing local river water.
© ANTARA/HO-BPBD GroboganThe road in Grobogan Regency, Central Java, experienced flooding due to high rainfall and overflowing local river water.
Acting Governor of Central Java Nana Sudjana said the floods that occurred in Grobogan Regency are currently submerging at least 2,662 houses and 56 hectares of rice fields.

"The cause of the flood was heavy rain that occurred on Monday night, February 5, 2024," Nana said as quoted by ANTARA, Tuesday, February 6.

Based on the latest data from the Central Java Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) received at 12.00 WIB, floods in Grobogan affected 32 villages in 12 sub-districts in the area.

Not only submerging houses and rice fields, but the flood also inundated six educational facilities, one house of worship, one cow's cage, and damaged the talud and road infrastructure.


Thousands of motorists stranded on roads in China amid heavy snow

Icy conditions have trapped thousands of drivers on motorways in central China as snow and freezing rain disrupted travel by air, train and road during the annual Lunar New Year holiday rush.

A Chinese travel blogger said she and her boyfriend were waiting with others on Tuesday for de-icing work to be completed after covering only 20-25 miles in 13 hours the previous day.

Travelling in the relative comfort of a motorhome, Chen Wei appeared unperturbed by the delay in the trip to her hometown. She quoted an old Chinese saying, telling the AP she "accepts what comes and faces it with calmness".

The heavy snow, unusual for central China, was forecast to continue into Wednesday.


Mayon volcano in the Philippines spews 1.2-km ash column

Mayon Volcano in Albay spews ash
Mayon Volcano in Albay spews ash reaching up to 1.2 kilometers, as viewed from the village of Tagas in Daraga, Albay, on Sunday.
Residents of communities in Albay province close to Mount Mayon were told to stay vigilant after ash column reaching up to 1,200 meters or 1.2 kilometers (km) from its crater on Sunday.

The phreatic eruption lasted from 4:37 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., Paul Alanis, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Mayon Volcano Observatory resident volcanologist, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Alanis said that the ash column has drifted to the southwest portion of Mayon Volcano to the direction of the towns of Daraga, Camalig and Guinobatan.

Mayon Volcano had its warning status lowered from alert level 3 (high level of volcanic unrest) to 2 (moderate level of volcanic unrest) on Dec. 8, 2023.Despite this recent activity, Alanis said the volcano will remain on alert level 2.