Earth ChangesS


US: More Snow Expected Tonight in Lower Southeast Michigan

A day after a winter storm dumped more than 10 inches of snow on Metro Detroit, more white is expected tonight - but in much smaller bursts.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory through 10 p.m. for part of lower southeast Michigan.

As much as 2-3 inches of snow could fall tonight near Monroe, while about half an inch was expected in Detroit, according to the weather service. Overnight lows will dip into the teens.

Highs Tuesday and Wednesday could be in the 20s and 30s.

The next major weather system comes Thursday, when highs are expected to rise near 40 and bring a wintry mix of rain and snow showers.

Early models show much of the heaviest rain could trek south, said Matt Mosteiko, a meteorologist at the NWS station in White Lake Township. "It looks like we'll miss out on the bulk of precipitation."

Sunday's storm caused numerous accidents, snarled traffic, prompted city snow emergencies and knocked out power statewide. Road crews also stepped up efforts to take advantage of the lighter traffic due to Presidents Day.

About 109,000 utility customers were without power today and more than 117,000 had been affected by weather-related outages. Consumers Energy spokesman Tim Pietryga said in a statement that most of the Jackson-based utility's customers without power are in Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Monroe, Hillsdale, Calhoun and Branch counties. DTE Energy Co. said no major outages have been reported.

Bizarro Earth

Iceland: Small earthquake swarm in Krísuvík volcano

© Unknown
The Krísuvík volcanic system (also spelled Krysuvik) consists of a group of NE-SW-trending basaltic crater rows and small shield volcanoes cutting the central Reykjanes Peninsula west of Kleifarvatn lake. Several eruptions have taken place since the settlement of Iceland, including the eruption of a large lava flow from the Ogmundargigar crater row around the 12th century. The latest eruption at Krísuvík took place during the 14th century.
Currently there is a small earthquake swarm in Krísuvík volcano. This earthquake swarm is small and is only about 20 or so earthquakes at current time. It is impossible to know if this earthquake swarm is going to continue or grow at present time. But it is not uncommon in this area for a small earthquake swam to be a warm up for a larger one. But as always there is just a wait and see what happens in the area.


Big Sunspots

Sunspot complex 1161-1162 quieted down over the weekend, producing few intense flares. Could it be the quiet before the storm? The tempestuous appearance of the region suggests more action could be in the offing. Rogerio Marcon sends this picture from his backyard observatory in Campinas SP Brasil:

© Rogerio MarconAR1161 and 1162 in h-alpha light. A big magnetic complex. Location: Campinas SP Brasil Image Taken: Feb. 20, 2011
Marcon recorded the image using an H-alpha filter tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen. It reveals several dark magnetic cores, each larger than Earth itself, interconnected by turbulent arcs of magnetized plasma. Similar filters are now available in the Space Weather Store for readers who would like to see these 'spots with their own (safely filtered) eyes.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class solar flares during the next 24 hours. Stay tuned for action.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 6.3 - South Island of New Zealand

Christchurch Quake_210211
© USGSEarthquake Location
Monday, February 21, 2011 at 23:51:43 UTC

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:51:43 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

43.600°S, 172.710°E

5 km (3.1 miles)


NEAR Christchurch, New Zealand

225 km (140 miles) SSE of Westport, New Zealand

305 km (190 miles) SSW of WELLINGTON, New Zealand

310 km (190 miles) NE of Dunedin, New Zealand

Bizarro Earth

Australia: Earthquake Magnitude 4.7 - Northern Territory

Monday, February 21, 2011 at 21:59:35 UTC

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 07:29:35 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
21.069°S, 135.432°E

9.8 km (6.1 miles)


334 km (208 miles) NNE (29°) from Alice Springs, Australia

1180 km (733 miles) WSW (245°) from Cairns, Australia

1744 km (1084 miles) SE (144°) from DILI, East Timor

Heart - Black

Baby dolphin deaths spike on Gulf Coast

© James Edward/Sun HeraldMammal Studies research intern Rhiannon Blake takes tissue and organ samples from a male baby dolphin discovered on the beach in Gulfport on Monday.

Gulfport -- Baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at 10 times the normal rate of stillborn and infant deaths, researchers are finding.

The Sun Herald has learned that 17 young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the shorelines.

The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies is doing necropsies, animal autopsies, on two of the babies now.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 6.4 - South of The Fiji Islands

Fiji Quake_210211
© USGSEarthquake Location
Monday, February 21, 2011 at 10:57:53 UTC

Monday, February 21, 2011 at 10:57:53 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

26.083°S, 178.439°E

561.8 km (349.1 miles)


505 km (315 miles) NW of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands

620 km (385 miles) SE of Ceva-i-Ra, Fiji

1245 km (770 miles) NNE of Auckland, New Zealand

1725 km (1070 miles) NNE of WELLINGTON, New Zealand

Cloud Lightning

High Winds Topple U.S. National Christmas Tree

© unknown
America's National Christmas Tree came tumbling down Saturday in a windstorm that battered the U.S. capital.

The 47-year-old, 42-foot-high (13-metre) Colorado blue spruce, which the president lit each year to mark the Christmas season, snapped near its base on the Ellipse near the White House.

"We're glad that there are no injuries," said Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Park Service.


Pilots, boaters adjust to shift in magnetic north

© Unknown
Magnetic north, the point at the top of the Earth that determines compass headings, is shifting its position at a rate of about 40 miles per year. In geologic terms, it's racing from the Arctic Ocean near Canada toward Russia.

As a result, everyone who uses a compass, even as a backup to modern GPS navigation systems, needs to be aware of the shift, make adjustments or obtain updated charts to ensure they get where they intend to go, authorities say. That includes pilots, boaters and even hikers.

"You could end up a few miles off or a couple hundred miles off, depending how far you're going," said Matthew Brock, a technician with Lauderdale Speedometer and Compass, a Fort Lauderdale company that repairs compasses.

Bizarro Earth

New Zealand: Oyster Virus Shuts Hatchery

© David Monniaux / Wikipedia
A herpes virus that has devastated North Island oyster farms and so far cost about $12 million in potential sales has shut the pioneering Nelson hatchery that supplies 20 per cent of New Zealand's stock.

No explanation has yet been found for how the virus, which has killed about half of Northland's farmed pacific oysters due for harvest next year, got into the Cawthron Institute's hatchery at The Glen.

But there was nothing to suggest that the hatchery itself, opened with great fanfare in mid-2009, was the source of the outbreak, Cawthron business development manager Mike Mandeno said yesterday.

"It's a temporary setback for us in terms of producing more stock. We'll be trying again at the end of the month."

Juvenile-farmed Northland oysters began dying towards the end of last year and the cause was identified by MAF scientists as a form of herpes which poses no risk to humans but which has been blamed for killing large numbers of oysters in France over the past three years. It is also found in many other countries, including Australia.