December 14, 2012 – CALIFORNIA – Two violent earthquakes hit the southern cost of California this Friday morning at approximately 2:30 a.m. The first to hit was a 6.3 magnitude quake 262km SSW of Avalon, California the second quake was a 6.1 magnitude reading with an epicenter 142km SW of Avalon, California. The second earthquake was later downgraded to a 4.7 by the USGS. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Mag: 6.3 – Depth: 10 km – off the west coast Of Baja California – and the 4.7 magnitude earthquake. 175 km from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, United States. Witnesses in Anaheim say they felt a slow smooth whirlpool rolling shake. Another witness in Ocean Beach, San Diego, was quoted as saying “Been through many, this was the longest feeling one, my 2nd story 100 year old apt, the floor swayed and twisted. In Hillcrest they’re saying they felt a strong seemingly long quake. Inglewood says “It was crazy it didn’t wake me up but the dog did. Pico Rivera, say they felt a subtle sway and shake. Lamp and windows shook. Coronado witnesses say nothing fell off walls but certainly the house shook. here in San Diego, just felt my couch shaking from that quake a little while ago… very eerie! Folks in La Jolla say they felt a gentle shake. Spring Valley witness says it woke her up. An Anaheim witness told us she was awake for odd reason then started feeling the earthquake. She says it frightened. In her words: “I hope the world doesn’t really end. There were many more disturbed by these two quakes. Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought, but these quakes were south west of that part of the U.S. U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown. There are no reports of damage or lost of life. While we were yet compiling this report another 5.1 quake hit the southern coast of California.
By Agence France-Presse
Friday, December 14, 2012 7:31 EST
A second nuclear plant in Japan sits atop a possibly active seismic fault, government-appointed experts said Friday, days after the first facility was said to be at risk.
A panel appointed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said fractured strips of earth beneath the Higashidori plant’s compound in northern Japan may be active faults, meaning it would likely have to be scrapped.
On Monday, geologists said it was probable that the Tsuruga nuclear plant in the centre of the country was sitting on faults that showed signs of geologically recent movement.
Active faults are those that, amongst other things, have moved within the past 120,000-130,000 years. Under government guidelines atomic installations cannot be sited on a fault if it is still classed as active.
NRA acting head Kunihiko Shimazaki said some of the fractures under the Higashidori plant compound may have resulted from tectonic movement in the past 100,000 years.
All but two of Japan’s nuclear reactors remain offline after being shuttered for regular safety checks in the aftermath of the 2011 crisis at Fukushima, when a huge tsunami generated by an earthquake caused meltdowns.
They must now get the go-ahead from the newly-formed NRA before they can be restarted.
Japan’s nuclear watchdog will make a formal assessment on the Higashidori plant next week.
The plant has one reactor which has been idled for checks, while construction of another reactor was suspended after last year’s disaster, the worst atomic accident in a generation.
The NRA is also set to conduct inspections at four other plants including the Oi nuclear facility in western Japan, the country’s only operating atomic power plant.
Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless by the Fukushima accident, and tracts of prime agricultural land were left unfarmable after radiation spread across a large area.
Anti-nuclear sentiment is running high in Japan, which used to rely on atomic power for around a third of its electricity needs.
December 14, 2012 – GEORGIA – Over a period of two days last week, the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency was flooded with calls with reports from residents hearing loud booms. And as of Tuesday at 12:17 Monday afternoon, the calls poured in again. EMA Director Pam Tucker says some callers even say their house was shook by the blast. “Over the last 24 hours, we’ve had numerous reports. They come email, they call 311, they call to us, Facebook, different people,” Tucker said. Some point at quarry blasting for the noises, but Tucker says it’s a state law for them to notify her of a scheduled blasting and there wasn’t a demolition around the time the calls started Monday. “We haven’t been able to find anything in the areas where we’re getting the reports from that would really identify, specifically, that it is tannerite being blown up or anything like that,” she added. And Columbia County isn’t the only place of the hearings of unusual thunder-like noises. “There’s a lot of things on the internet that talk about mysterious booms happening other places so, they talk about it could be talking about methane gas that has seeped somehow into the earth and that’s along the coast from the gulf that would be the reason for the booms in Arizona, all the way through Georgia,” Tucker also said.
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, December 13, 2012 6:59 EST
The government said on Thursday that a controversial shale gas extraction method known as fracking should resume in Britain, despite the fact that it is suspected of having triggered earthquakes.
Exploratory fracking can restart under tight controls to “mitigate the risks of seismic activity”, Energy Secretary Edward Davey said in a statement.
The British energy firm Cuadrilla Resources had been forced to halt drilling trials on Lancashire’s Fylde coast in June last year. Its work was thought to have caused a 2.3-magnitude tremor in April 2011 and a 1.5-magnitude tremor in May.
But Davey said Thursday: “My decision is based on the evidence.
“It comes after detailed study of the latest scientific research available and advice from leading experts in the field.
“We are strengthening the stringent regime already in place with new controls around seismic risks,” he added.
“And as the industry develops we will remain vigilant to all emerging evidence to ensure fracking is safe and the local environment is protected.”
Davey said shale gas was a “promising new potential energy resource” for Britain which could contribute to energy security and reduce the reliance on imported gas.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting chemicals, water and sand into underground shale rock formations to release trapped natural gas.
Opponents say it causes water pollution but energy groups say it provides access to considerable new gas reserves and could drive down prices.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the creation of a new Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil to simplify regulation of the sector and speed up production as part of his Autumn Statement on December 5.
December 13, 2012 – ICELAND – A total of 1,500 earthquakes hit in Iceland last month. According to data from the Icelandic Met Office, the most seismic activity—or a total of 750 earthquakes—occurred in Eyjafjördur, which was also the location of the strongest earthquake, of a magnitude 3.8, mbl.is reports. In late November, a minor glacial outburst flood was reported in Grímsvötn volcano in Vatnajökull glacier. GPS data shows that the ice level had decreased, a strong indication that a flood had started. The flood reached its peak on November 26. A glacial outburst isn’t necessarily an indication of an upcoming eruption.
QUEBEC CITY – A minor earthquake shook a large region north of Quebec City Wednesday afternoon.
The 4.4-magnitude quake hit at 12:46 p.m. near La Malbaie, Que., about two hours northeast of the provincial capital.
“People would have felt something like a big bang followed by some vibrations,” said seismologist Maurice Lamontagne from Natural Resources Canada.
The quake lasted only a few seconds and no damage was reported.
It was felt as far north as Saguenay, QC, 200 km from the epicentre.
Up to 250 earthquakes are recorded every year in the region, said Lamontagne.
Only a few can be felt by humans but the area is recognized as seismic zone and building codes have been revised as a result.
December 13, 2012 – NAVIDAD, Chile — One jolt hit in the middle of the night. Another caught fishermen at a nearby beach. Then the ground shook at supper. And then again, and again: More than 170 tremors were felt in Navidad in just five weeks. The strongest struck during a funeral, and sent panicked mourners fleeing into the street. Navidad, a coastal farming town of 5,500 people, has become one of the shakiest spots in one of the world’s shakiest countries. And seismologists can’t say whether these were aftershocks from Chile’s devastating quake two years ago, or warnings of another huge disaster to come. Navidenos, though, have learned to take quakes in stride. In this town whose name means Christmas, some decorate Christmas trees with quakes in mind, wiring ornaments to the branches or taking extra efforts to secure the base. Restaurant owners nail wood railings panels to their shelves to keep glasses and liquor from crashing down. Some now use canned beer, shunning bottles as too risky. Children at public schools practice drills every day and everyone seems to have a quake bag with flashlights and food ready. “We were born, grew up and were raised with earthquakes,” acting Mayor Rodrigo Soto said. “It seems like the world for the first time has discovered Navidad. Everyone asks us if we’re scared and all we can say is that we need to be prepared.” Still, no amount of preparation can avoid that panicky feeling when the ground really rumbles. There’s no way to know at that moment whether the shaking will pass quickly, or become frighteningly worse. While the ground shook under the pews at the funeral, the faces of the mourners turned pale like the dead. Despite appeals for calm, the church swayed so much that people panicked and ran outside. “People were terrorized,” Carolina Jeria, recalling that 5.9-magnitude quake on Nov. 21. “In a moment like that, you lose control. We’re very worried about the quakes because the big one in 2010 caught us unprepared.” Soto says the town still has an inadequate tsunami alert system — a siren that sounds like a car alarm and lacks the volume needed to reach all the townspeople. But after so many tremors, he says Navidenos know in their bones when to run. They know they’ll barely feel a magnitude-2, but a magnitude-7 will knock them off their feet and that’s a sign to scramble for high ground in case there’s a tsunami. Aside from the quakes, life is slow in Navidad. Many farmers still use oxen to plow their land, while others cater to tourists who come for the Pacific beaches from Chile’s capital of Santiago, 170 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of town. Yet people are often on edge.
December 12, 2012
Today a massive fire engulfed a section of interstate highway and a group of houses along West Virginia’s Interstate 77.
The explosion was reported at about 12:40 p.m. PT in Sissonville, a community of about 4,000 people located 10 miles north of Charleston.
“At least five homes went up in flames Tuesday afternoon and a badly burned section of Interstate 77 in West Virginia was closed after a natural gas line exploded in an hour-long infernon.
No injuries were immediately reported, but firefighters had just begun to reach damaged structures late in the afternoon after the intense flames kept them at bay for several hours.
Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, and a shelter was set up at Sissonville High School, where Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin planned a late-afternoon press conference State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said a slight risk of a secondary explosion remained, but people were told to stay inside their homes rather than evacuate.
The explosion occurred near Sissonville just before 1 p.m. in a 20-inch transmission line owned by NiSource Inc., parent of Columbia Gas. The gas flow was shut off, but 1st Sgt. James Lee said there was still pressure on the transmission line.”
Trevor Goins lives about a half-mile from the explosion and was watching television in his apartment when he saw a ripple in his coffee cup and the floor shook.
“I thought possibly (it was) a plane crash,” said Goins, who immediately went outside with several neighbors. “It was so loud it sounded like a turbine engine. You almost had to put your hands over your ears.”
Kent Carper, president of the Kanawha County Commission, said flames had been shooting 50 to 75 feet into the air before the fire was extinguished. He also said “It actually cooked the interstate, it looks like a tar pit.”
The highway will be closed for two days while engineers and inspectors repair the damage and assess whether a bridge was compromised, said State Police Sgt. Chris Zerkle. Route 21 will also be closed until further notice, he said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin told reporters at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that several people were transported from the scene for smoke inhalation-related injuries. But he said emergency crews had concluded there were no deaths and everyone had been accounted for.
Source: Iwakami Yasumi, Japanese journalist
Translation: Fukushima Diary
Date: Dec. 11, 2012
On December 11, 2012, Japanese journalist Iwakami Yasumi received this email from Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland
I received this message on 12/9/2012.
The pump of the SFP in reactor4 had been having the spotty trouble, but it went out of order on 12/8/2012 at the end.
Nuclear workers were collected for emergency to replace the pump but it takes more 2~3 days to fix they say. (Extra workers were brought by helicopter even at night.)
According to a nuclear worker collected for emergency, the concrete to reinforce the SFP is terribly deteriorating to be in the “dangerous state”.
[…] a former executive manager of a major company commented this, which is very insightful.
“My fear has come into the truth. If it was merely the problem of the pump, it wouldn’t be such an issue but if the base to support SFP4 has some damage where we can’t see, the situation is much more serious.” […]
Ambassador Murata: “I sent this email to all the chief editors of national newspaper companies, NHK and influential people of major mass media but they all ignored it. I was shocked. I called the manager of disaster headquarter of Fukushima prefectural government but he didn’t know that. It seems like they didn’t report it to Fukushima local government. ”
December 11, 2012 – TOKYO – A fault running directly underneath the Unit 2 reactor of the Tsuruga plant, operated by Japan Atomic Power Co. and located about 330 kilometers (200 miles) west of Tokyo, “could be an active one,” the panel said in a meeting to review an on-site investigation carried out Dec. 1-2 into faults within the plant’s premises. The government’s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, stressed, however, that steps need to be taken before any final decision. “We shouldn’t make any predictions at this stage,” he said. For one, the panel’s assessment needs to be reviewed by the new regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it isn’t known when the commission will meet. Still, NRC Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said the commission won’t be able to consider a request to restart the plant as long as there is a possibility the fault is active. Japan Atomic Power submitted an open letter to the NRC Tuesday asking for clarification of the experts’ views, which it said “are not fully explained and lack scientific basis.” If the commission determines there is an active fault under the unit, the company won’t be allowed to restart it, and might have to decommission it. Japan Atomic Power said the conclusion of the panel was “totally unacceptable.” The company added that “we will conduct additional surveys and prove our position with objective data.” A shutdown isn’t a foregone conclusion, experts say. “All the panel is saying is that the fault could be an active one. That means they are arguing that it is equally possible that the fault is inactive,” said Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear-reactor engineer at Kyoto University. “I suspect there is still a good chance of the reactor getting restarted in the future.” Opened in 1970, the Tsuruga plant is one of the oldest in Japan. The major fault line, the Urazoko fault, was found in 2008 to be running 250 meters (825 feet) from the two reactor buildings. Several smaller faults extending from the main Urazoko fault run directly under Unit 2′s reactor. Despite the discovery of the Urazoko fault, Japan Atomic Power continued to operate the plant, saying the smaller faults wouldn’t move in tandem with the bigger one. Some geologists have argued that the land could shift along these faults if a major earthquake triggers movement along the Urazoko fault. The March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant raised fresh concerns, and the regulator has since been reviewing the safety of all of Japan’s 50 reactors. Currently, only two reactors are operating in the country, and those also are under investigation because of concerns over fault lines. The suspension of nuclear reactors has resulted in a sharp decline in Japan’s power-generating capacity. On the northern main island of Hokkaido, the government is calling for voluntary power conservation amid rising demand due to winter weather. Supply concerns are expected to re-emerge when demand peaks again in summer.
December 11, 2012 – INDONESIA – A magnitude 7.3 (7.1 USGS) earthquake in the Banda Sea off Indonesia has been felt more than 600 kilometers away in Darwin. Geoscience Australia says there could be more aftershocks from the quake that shook the Top End of the Northern Territory overnight. Tremors were felt in Darwin and Katherine at about 2:30 am local time and were the strongest in the north for about 20 years. Overnight staff at the Darwin weather bureau evacuated their third-storey office while the building shook. Duty forecaster Angeline Prasad says the tremor was the strongest she has felt. “The building started shaking and it just became worse,” she said. “It is the worst tremor I’ve felt in Darwin. When things started falling off shelves we decided to go to an evacuation point, which is outside the building.” Geoscience senior seismologist Dr Mark Leonard says, while there have been quakes of a similar magnitude felt in Darwin before, people are describing last night’s tremor as particularly intense. “We have had a few reports from people saying they think it is the strongest, even though we know if you go back 20, 30 years there have been a number of earthquakes this size,” he said. “But there might have been some sort of focusing of the waves this time.” An engineering specialist says the tremor is a pointer to why building standards should be reviewed in northern Australia. Professor Kevin McKew from Central Queensland University says it is a warning that a large, damaging earthquake could strike at any time. “The big one is yet to come,” he said. “We haven’t had a great earthquake, as I would call it, but we’ve had plenty of warning calls. “I think it will happen; it’s just a matter of when will it happen. “We know it is probably a once in 300 or 400 year earthquake but we have no indication to say when it’s about to happen. But we just have to plan for it.” One Darwin resident says she was sleeping when her bed started moving. “The bed was really shaking violently, all my sliding doors rattling and windows were rattling, and the wardrobe was sliding violently and rattling,” she said. “It just seemed to go on and on and on, and then when it died down, it even had another violent shudder again. “It certainly got the adrenaline running.” Residents further south in Katherine, 200 kilometers south of Darwin, also felt tremors. Indonesian geophysics officials also said they had not received any reports of damage. The quake was felt only weakly in the districts of North Halamahera and Morotai which were closest to the epicenter, Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said in an update.
December 10, 2012
Geologists said on Monday a Japanese nuclear plant may be sited over an active seismic fault, indicating that it will probably be scrapped.
All five experts tasked by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) with investigating the tectonic situation underneath Tsuruga plant in Fukui prefecture said it showed signs of geologically recent movement.
Under government guidelines, atomic installations cannot be sited on a fault – the meeting place of two or more of the plates that make up the earth’s crust – if it is still classed as active.
December 10, 2012 – ARIZONA – Jean Swesey was doing homework with her son in Cottonwood when it happened. “It was a whole series of booms,” Swesey said. “Up to six or seven. It was fast, it went loud. We were quiet and then my daughter down the hall screams really loud, ‘Did you hear that?’ I sat there for a second and I heard another set.” Swesey wasn’t alone. Residents in communities in and around Verde Valley and as far as Flagstaff called 911 or their police and fire departments to report the strange booming sounds. “It sounded like thunder, but underground,” Swesey said. “Like muffled thunder. And all the dogs in the neighborhood, all of them that were outside all started barking at once.” CBS 5 News first received reports of the explosion-like noises shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday and began checking with law enforcement and government sources. The U.S. Geological Survey reports no significant earthquake activity in Arizona that could have created the booms. The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office had deputies in the area that either heard it or tried to respond to resident calls. They found nothing. The Sedona Fire District dispatched a crew to check a report of a strange odor, but that was unfounded and may not be related to the sounds. The Camp Verde Marshal also received a number of phone calls about the booms. Officers found no evidence of any explosions. But the Verde Valley contains large expanses of uninhabited land. “Maybe when the light comes back they’ll find something,” said Gary Johnson of Sedona Fire. Swesey sure hopes so. “It was just, ‘boom-boom-boom-boom-boom all over the Verde Valley.” The cause of the mystery noise still remains a mystery.
While remaining a mystery regarding how much natural gas is impacting Bayou Corne’s sinkhole disaster area and communities, it is no longer a mystery that hydrogen sulfide is there, an explosion is possible, and, according to a WWL Radio broadcast with a scientist this week, it can potentially impact larger areas, and that it becoming a “sacrifice zone” is feared.
Hydrogen sulfide reality
Friday, parish officials announced confirmation that hydrogen sulfide is in the sinkhole disaster area.
“Texas Brine Oxy 3A evaluation was performed this morning and confirmed the well does have H2S present in the hydrocarbon,” officials stated in their blog post Friday. “The Well has been shut in and a work plan is being developed to address this issue. We will update accordingly.”
ALBANY, N.Y. — A debt-laden natural gas drilling company that had counted on tapping the riches of New York’s part of the Marcellus Shale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday while the state’s 4-year-old moratorium on hydrofracking remains in place.
Norse Energy Corp., based in Oslo, Norway, that its U.S. subsidiary had filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 reorganization.
Norse has 130,000 acres under lease for gas drilling in New York state. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation has had a moratorium on drilling permits since it launched an environmental impact review in 2008.
The DEC is developing new regulations for fracking, or high-volume hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technology used to free gas from shale.
“It isn’t just regulatory delays. We had debts incurred outside of New York that we’re paying back,” said Dennis Holbrook, Norse’s Buffalo-based chief legal officer. “But clearly the regulatory delays in New York have had a negative impact on this company.”
Norse has been selling off assets, primarily oil and gas leases and some production properties, to pay debts and meet operating expenses. “But over time, the valuations have consistently declined for those assets because of a general perception that New York is not open for business,” Holbrook said.
The Chapter 11 filing may “likely constitute an event of default” on a $21 million bond, the company said in a statement.
Norse has been operating in central New York since 1996 and has drilled hundreds of vertical gas wells in sandstone formations. It had applied for dozens of permits to drill in the Marcellus Shale, a gas-rich region underlying southern New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. While Pennsylvania has seen soaring shale gas production over the past five years, New York has had a moratorium on permits while DEC studies environmental, health and safety concerns related to shale gas development.
Posted: Dec 07, 2012 4:19 PM MST Updated: Dec 07, 2012 7:07 PM MST
BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) –
A cavern well had to be shut down after Hydrogen Sulfide gas was discovered. Texas-Brine’s evaluation showed a low level of the gas, but officials say none of it has been detected in the surrounding communities.
Two weeks ago, Texas-Brine detected amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide in its deepest well. Now the company has reported to the Department of Natural Resources that it has detected amounts of the gas in one of its flow lines in the failed cavern that caused the sinkhole.
According to Assumption Parish Director of OEP John Boudreaux, officials from DNR and his office tested the company’s flow line themselves for the gas Thursday but did not detect Hydrogen Sulfide.
OEP and DNR, along with Texas-Brine tested the flow line in the cavern again Friday to see if the gas is present; that is when the low levels of Hydrogen Sulfide was discovered.
Because the gas was detected, the cavern cannot be plugged and the gas will have to be removed as it flows. “They’ll have to bring in scrubber units and put those devices in the line and scrub out the hydrogen sulfide as well as remove the hydrogen sulfide and dispose of it in the proper manner,” said Boudreaux.
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