December 8, 2012 – INDONESIA – Mount Lokon, near the North Sulawesi town of Tomohon, entered its second day of eruption on Friday, belching heaps of ash and smoke into the atmosphere. “People are asked to remain alert and not conduct any activities within a 2.5 kilometer radius around the Tompuluan crater of Mount Lokon,” said Farid Bima, who heads the volcano monitoring outpost near the mountain. The 1,579-meter-high volcano first erupted at around 5:18 p.m. on Thursday, sending a column of ash and smoke that reached some 3,500 meters high. The ash fell mostly on the southeastern slope of the volcano. Farid said that so far there had been no report of casualties or damages, and reiterated that the alert status of the mountain was still at “ready,” or two rungs above normal and one below full eruption. Mount Lokon has demonstrated rising volcanic activities since mid-year, he added, and has been undergoing a series of small and large eruptions. Tomohon Mayor Jemmy Eman announced on Friday a 2.5 kilometer-radius danger-zone and also prepared areas to shelter people if any evacuations needed to take place. However, he said there was no need for people on the upper slopes of the mountain to be evacuated, since the eruptions so far were not deemed major threats. “Therefore, there will not be any evacuations yet,” said Arnold Poli, the city secretary. An eruption of Mount Lokon last month prompted the evacuation of some 5,000 people from its upper slopes. Hoyke Makarawung, the head of the North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that his institution had already readied assistance should any evacuation take place in the areas affected by the discharge. “We are continuously monitoring the condition of the volcano,” he said.
December 8, 2012 – ALASKA – Residents in the Yukon River community of Eagle are excited about a mysterious geologic event that is emitting fire, steam and a sulfur smell. Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve lead Interpretative Ranger Pat Sanders says it all started on Sept. 27. An explosion was heard, in Eagle, which is rare so of course we were interested,” Sanders said. Sanders says on Oct. 10, a fire was spotted about 2 miles up the Tatonduk River, known locally as Sheep Creek. She says the fire spread to about 15 acres. “And on the 15th of October we had snow and the fire was still going although it appeared to be emitting steam and there was a sulfur smell,” Sanders said. No one has been on the ground there yet, but over-flight photographs reveal a slumping area that is steaming and looks a lot like a mini volcano crater. Sanders says the area is about 25 miles Northeast of Eagle and it’s located on Doyon land. She says both NPS and USGS geologists suspect it is a shale oil rock deposit. Sanders says the area has two slumping craters that cover about a five acre area. “It’s been really interesting to watch because it’s still steaming and still burning but if it is indeed oil shale as USGS suspects, oil shale and sulfur, it could be as deep as a thousand feet which means it could have been burning for some time from a lightning strike years ago and it’s been burning underground and finally burned enough to cause a slump or a crater like depression in the earth so until we actually get boots on the ground and we don’t know when that’s going to happen, we’re not going to know,” Sanders said. Sanders says it’s difficult to tell from the hazy aerial pictures, but the craters appear to be as deep as 150 to 200 feet and she says there has been significant slumping since it was first observed. She says the Hard Luck Creek fault is in the area and is an active fault. USGS geologist Marti Miller says it’s more likely to be burning oil shale not a burning coal seam. “But we’re fairly confident that it’s not a hot spring or some other type of volcanic related incident,” Miller said, which will be disappointing news to Pat Sanders in Eagle. “Of course everyone in Eagle is hoping it’s going to be a thermal event and we’ll end up with a hot springs but maybe that’s just because it was 45 below last week,” Sanders said. NPS geologist Linda Stromquist says, although they would like to examine the site sooner, at this point in the year it is probably prudent to wait until better weather and daylight conditions improve, toward spring.
December 7, 2012 – NEW ZEALAND – An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 6.3 struck New Zealand’s North Island today, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The temblor’s epicenter was 12 miles (19 km) southeast of the town of Tokoroa and 214 miles (345 km) north-northeast of the capital Wellington. It originated 103 miles (167 km) deep and struck at 7:19 a.m. local time Saturday (1819 UTC Friday), the USGS reports. Earthquakes of this size can cause significant damage, especially with poorly built structures. Even well designed buildings can be damaged or, in some cases, destroyed depending on the severity of the quake and a building’s proximity to the epicenter. Earthquakes of this size are sometimes followed by significant aftershocks. Amber, who is based in Hawke’s Bay, said her kids rolled a marble down the hallway, so she assumed the piles had moved as well as the house. Peter Fraser, based in Belmont Hills in Wellington, said it felt like a digger had gone past the house, and Laurel Baird, in nearby Tawa, said it felt like a huge truck at first, but then got “louder and louder.” It was then, “the rolling began. It felt like a long time,” Baird said. The quake wasn’t described as violent, but people have said beds shook against walls, some ornaments fell from shelves and they were frustrated at being awake – having hoped for a Saturday sleep in.
Published: 07 December, 2012, 12:31
Following a 7.3-magnitude quake, a meter-high tsunami struck Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, where the tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant crisis hit last year. Authorities reported no damage, radiation levels at Fukushima remain stable.
The earthquake hit 245 kilometers off Japan’s eastern coast at a depth of around 35 kilometers. The tremor prompted a tsunami warning on the Miyagi prefecture, where last year’s devastating quake triggered a tsunami and multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The tsunami warning has now been lifted and five people have been taken to hospital in the Miyagi Prefecture with minor injuries.
The US Geological Survey initially put the quake’s strength at 7.4-magnitude, but later revised its estimation, lowering it to 7.3.
An aftershock of 6.2-magnitude struck the eastern coast just minutes after the initial quake.
Japanese media reported how buildings in Tokyo swayed in the ensuing tremors.
Following the tsunami warning, local authorities advised some residents of Miyagi prefecture to evacuate their homes.
A news presenter on Japanese state news channel NHK repeatedly told citizens to flee to safety during live broadcasts.
“Remember last year’s quake and tsunami, call on your neighbors and flee to higher ground now!” he said.
In the neighboring prefecture of Fukushima, officials were quick to report that the Daiichi nuclear plant remained stable following the earthquake.
“All workers were ordered to take shelter inside buildings at the Fukushima plant. No abnormalities were confirmed with the radiation monitoring posts at the Fukushima plant. No abnormalities were seen with the water processing facilities,” Tokyo Electric Power Company said in a statement.
In March of last year, the Daiichi plant at Fukushima was the scene of the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl tragedy in 1986. A 9.0-magnitude quake triggered a massive tsunami, causing damage to the plant that led to multiple meltdowns. Over 15,000 people died and more than 3,200 people went missing.
Radiation levels in Fukushima remain high, contaminating food and water in the area.
December 7, 2012 – JAPAN – A strong quake centered off northeastern Japan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo on Friday and triggered a one-meter tsunami in an area devastated by last year’s Fukushima disaster, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, the U.S. Geological Survey said, and thousands of coastal residents were ordered to evacuate to higher ground, but the tsunami warning was lifted two hours after the tremor struck. The March 2011 earthquake and following tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air. Workers at the plant were ordered to move to safety after Friday’s quake. Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, reported no irregularities at its nuclear plants. All but two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors have been idled since the Fukushima disaster as the government reviews safety. The quake measured a “lower 5” in Miyagi prefecture on Japan’s scale of one to seven, meaning there might be some damage to roads and houses that are less quake resistant. The scale measures the amount of shaking and in that sense gives a better idea of possible damage than the magnitude. The quake registered a 4 in Tokyo. The one-meter tsunami hit at Ishinomaki, in Miyagi, at the centre of the devastation from the March 2011 disaster. All Miyagi trains halted operations and Sendai airport, which was flooded by the tsunami last year, closed its runway. Five people in the prefecture were slightly injured. “I was in the centre of the city the very moment the earthquake struck. I immediately jumped into the car and started running away towards the mountains. I’m still hiding inside the car,” said Ishinomaki resident Chikako Iwai. I have the radio on and they say the cars are still stuck in the traffic. I’m planning to stay here for the next couple of hours.” There are vast areas of Ishinomaki that still have not been cleaned up since last year’s tsunami. Many houses lie in ruins, full of rubble. Workers by the shore still sort through thousands of cars that were swamped and destroyed. The cars are piled up and being taken apart for parts and scrap. Narita airport outside Tokyo was back in action after a brief closure for safety checks. There were small tsunamis, measuring in the centimeters, elsewhere near the epicenter. Tokyo, with a population of 12 million, sits on the junction of four tectonic plates: the Eurasian, North American, Philippine and Pacific. The sudden bending or breaking of any plate can trigger an earthquake.
December 7, 2012 – NEVADA – A tsunami-producing fault in Lake Tahoe is overdue for another earthquake, scientists said here Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The West Tahoe Fault is capable of producing a magnitude-7.3 earthquake and tsunamis up to 30 feet (10 meters) high in the clear blue lake, where million-dollar homes line the shore, researchers said. Earthquakes strike every 3,000 to 4,000 years on the fault, and the most recent shaker was 4,500 years ago, indicating the fault is overdue for another earthquake, said Jillian Maloney, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. The West Tahoe fault defines the west shore of the lake, coming on shore at Baldwin Beach, passing through the southern third of Fallen Leaf Lake, and then descending into Christmas Valley near Echo Summit. To trace the fault’s history, Maloney and her colleagues examined data from a CHIRP seismic imaging system, which details underwater sediment layers at very high resolution. (CHIRP stands for compressed high intensity radar pulse.) The researchers correlated landslide deposits, which could be related to past earthquakes, throughout western Lake Tahoe and in small lakes immediately to the south with radiocarbon dates from the sediments. The West Tahoe Fault has a complicated history, the analysis reveals. The fault appears to alternate between breaking all at once, in a 31-mile long (50 kilometer) fracture, and in smaller, shorter segments. The discovery has implications for the Tahoe’s seismic hazard, because the size of an earthquake relates to the length of a fault rupture, Maloney said. The biggest earthquakes come from the longest fault fractures. The correlations, while still at an early stage, indicate the last time the fault’s entire length ruptured was 7,800 years ago, Maloney told OurAmazingPlanet. More recent quakes occurred on individual segments, she said. Because the fault crosses the lake, scientists worry a future earthquake will cause a tsunami in Lake Tahoe. The monster waves could form in two ways: by the fault displacing ground under the lake, similar to Japan’s Tohoku tsunami, or by causing landslides that displace the water. A combination of both could also create an even bigger wave. Layers of sediment preserved in and around Lake Tahoe record evidence of past tsunamis, said Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory in Reno. However, having smaller earthquakes on the West Tahoe Fault would be better for the ski town. “If it breaks up into multiple segments, it might not be as great a tsunami risk,” Kent told OurAmazingPlanet. The most recent earthquake in the Tahoe region was about 575 years ago, on the Incline Fault, which becomes active about every 10,000 to 15,000 years. Scientists estimate its earthquake size potential at magnitude 7.
December 7, 2012 – HAWAII – It’s almost unimaginable: a tsunami more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) high bearing down on the island of Hawaii. But scientists have new evidence of these monster waves, called mega-tsunamis, doing just that. The findings were presented here yesterday (Dec. 5) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Unlike tsunamis from earthquakes, the Hawaiian tsunamis strike when the island chain’s massive volcanoes collapse in humongous landslides. This happens about every 100,000 years, and is linked to climate change, said Gary McMurtry, a professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Sitting about 30 feet (10 m) away from today’s Ka Le (South Point) seashore are boulders the size of cars. Some 250,000 years ago, a tsunami tossed the enormous rocks 820 feet (250 m) up the island’s slopes, said Fernando Marques, a professor at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. (The boulders are closer to the shore now because the main island of Hawaii is one of the world’s largest volcanoes, and its massive weight sends it sinking into the Earth at a rate of about 1 millimeter a year.) McMurtry’s team found two younger and slightly smaller tsunami deposits at South Point on the main island of Hawaii, one 50,000 years old and one 13,000 years old. He suggests the tsunami source is the two Ka Le submarine landslides, from the flanks of the nearby Mauna Loa volcano. The waves carried corals and 3-foot (1 m) boulders 500 feet (150 m) inland. Deadly, landslide-triggered tsunamis happen at volcanic islands around the world, and are a potential hazard for the Eastern United States. “We find them everywhere, but we don’t know of any historical cases, so we have to go back in time,” said Anthony Hildenbrand, a volcanologist at the University of Paris-Sud in France, who helped identify the ancient tsunami deposit. The giant landslides seem to happen during periods of rising sea levels, when the climate is also warmer and wetter, Hildenbrand told OurAmazingPlanet. Researchers speculate that the change from lower sea level to higher may destabilize a volcanic island’s flanks, and heavier rains could soak its steep slopes, helping trigger landslides. There are at least 15 giant landslides that have slid off the Hawaiian Islands in the past 4 million years, with the most recent happening only 100,000 years ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. One block of rock that slid off Oahu is the size of Manhattan.
December 6, 2012 – CORSICANA, TEXAS — Reports of earthquake-like tremors starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing until early Wednesday can’t be confirmed as true earthquakes, but experts can’t say what it is, either. “We started getting calls at 3:09 p.m. (Tuesday),” said Eric Meyers, Navarro County Emergency Coordinator. “The first calls were north of Corsicana in the Hickory Hollow area with two separate residents out there reporting unusual tremors being felt along with a rumbling type of noise.” After checking with the U.S. Geological Survey website, Meyers also checked with the National Weather Service and state emergency management offices. “About two hours later, approximately five o’clock, there were additional reports in the same area of heavier tremors, the same vicinity, the same residents,” Meyers said. Another report came from the western part of the county, near Navarro Mills. After the second round of reports, Meyers posted it on Facebook and suddenly there were more reports, but coming from all over, including Streetman, Purdon, Pursley and Dawson. Some of the reports came from as far away as Freestone and Limestone counties. The line runs about 50 to 60 miles long, and the tremors didn’t act like any other thing except perhaps earthquake booms, which are shallow sometimes undetectable tremors similar to what’s been happening locally. The range and the description of houses “popping” and shaking didn’t seem to fit anything, including the disturbances reported around fracking drill-sites. “This is an unexplained event likely of a natural origin,” Meyers said. “We can’t come up with a point of origin or a cause or explanation of why this is happening.” Still, the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey, located in Golden, Colo., didn’t see anything on its monitors, according to Don Blakeman, an earthquake analyst at the center. “We had a call earlier, apparently folks have been feeling something out there for about a day, but we couldn’t find anything, we didn’t see anything on our records,” Blakeman said. “That doesn’t mean something hasn’t happened, but we don’t know what it is.” If the tremors had been as large as the small quakes that took place around Dallas they would have been detected on their equipment, Blakeman said. “Little earthquakes don’t automatically trigger the computer’s earthquake location,” he said. “If we have an exact time, though, we can scan the records for it.” Many tremors aren’t necessarily earthquakes but can have man-made causes, both men said. “We were trying to determine what was going on, any type of military exercises at a higher level than locally, we worked on this throughout the night and we eliminated everything we could think of and continued to do some through today,” Meyers said. “We went through the process of elimination on what it could be and ruled out all these different things,” he said. “Whatever it was hasn’t occurred since 4 a.m. Wednesday. It’s unusual, to say the least.”
December 6, 2012 – TEHRAN – Eight people were killed Wednesday and at least a dozen injured in a moderate earthquake that struck eastern Iran near the Afghan border, a provincial emergency official said. “Based on the latest reports from the scene, the quake killed five people and injured 12 others,” Mohammad Ali Akhoundi, head of South Khorasan province’s crisis management service, told Mehr news agency. The quake, which registered 5.5 on the moment magnitude scale, hit at 8:38 pm (1708 GMT). Its epicenter was 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Zohan, a small town in the province, according to Tehran University’s Seismological Centre. Five villages were also “destroyed or damaged” in the quake Akhoundi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster IRIB. Iranian media reports said search and rescue teams were dispatched to the area, which had lost communication. The US Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide, confirmed the temblor saying it measured 5.6 and was at a depth of 5.4 kilometers. Zohan is about 810 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Tehran.
December 5, 2012 – GREECE – A seismic swarm of 2000 micro-earthquakes near the island of Nisyros since 24 November could indicate a start of a or coming of a volcanic eruption near Nisyros. The quakes are located between the area of Simi Island (Greece) and the Bozburun peninsula of SW of Turkey. Information is still scanty, but seismic signals from this possible eruption are very similar to those recorded from current volcanic eruptions. If an eruption is taking place, it would form a new submarine volcano near Nisyros. No proof has yet been found to prove that an eruption may be taking place. Some sources think the swarm may be tectonic (as the Aegean sea is very seismically active). The Volcano Discovery alert will be kept at Green until further evidence is found. The island has a 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) to 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) wide caldera, and was constructed within the past 150,000 years, with 3 separate eruptive stages, ranging from explosive and effusive andesitic eruptions to effusive and extrusive dacitic and rhyolitic activity. Its coasts are generally rocky or pebbled, but there are also a few sandy beaches (mainly in the northeastern part). The volcano is currently active (but not erupting), and fumaroles are found at the craters. It has had four historical eruptions, all of which had a VEI of 2. Almost all of its eruptions involved phreatic activity. The latest eruptive activity was a steam explosion in 1888, after small ash eruptions in 1871 and 1873 and earthquakes are not infrequent. A period of seismic unrest in 1996–1997 led an international team of scientist to initiate monitoring of the volcanic unrest in the European Union sponsored Geowarn project. The entire volcanic complex includes the seafloor between Nisyros and Kos, the island of Gyali, and a part of Kos Island.
December 4, 2012 – CALIFORNIA – An energetic earthquake swarm centered beneath rhyolite domes in the Coso Volcanic Field (CA) continues, with over 20 earthquakes ranging between M1 and M3 so far today. Many smaller events (hundreds) are recorded as well. The swarm initiated on 27 November and has included earthquakes as large as M3.7. The Coso Volcanic Field is located in Inyo County, California, at the western edge of the Basin and Range geologic province and northern region of the Mojave Desert. The Coso Volcanic Field is one of the most seismically active regions in the United States, producing dozens of tremors in the M1 and M2 range each week. Tremors in the M3 range occur at a rate of 2-6 per month and M4 quakes occur two-three times each year. Recent activity in the M5 range happened in 1996 and 1998 when tremors of M5.3, M5.1, M5.2, and M5.0 occurred with a day of each other. These tremors were actually recorded along the eastern side of the Coso Volcanic Field, 15 miles (24 km). September 30, 2009 to October 6, 2009 there have been 429 earthquakes ranging from 0.1 up to a 5.2. Some days have activity just about one every minute. On October 2, 2009 there were three earthquakes (5.2, 4.7, and a 4.9) all within one hour of each other. Earthquake swarms are common in the Coso area, often producing hundreds of tremors over periods of time as short as a few days. This kind of brisk and robust seismic activity is common in volcanic areas, such as Long Valley Caldera located near Mammoth Lakes, and Yellowstone Caldera at Yellowstone. Geologists say the last eruption of the volcanic fields occurred 30 to 40,000 years ago.
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