Saturday, September 10, 2011

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Katla Volcano Seismic Activity Intensifies!



The Katla volcano in Iceland, has this morning shown a spike in increased seismic activity, this has followed a week of increasing activity in the area.
An increase in seismic activity at Iceland's Katla Volcano is stirring the world up as predictions of the past have revealed Katla follows Eyjafjallajokul, which erupted in April of 2010. Scientists say not to worry though right now. TheWeatherSpace.com was able to speak to Pall Enarsson of the University of Iceland about the activity. "Earthquakes are normal for Katla, but one occurring every ten minutes is not," he said. "We are having small swarms which are not common." Scientists flew over Katla on Tuesday evening but could not detect the cause of the increased activity, but stressed the volcano has seen similar activity in the past. Signs have been detected that Katla was preparing for an eruption and scientists are keeping watch. - The Weather Space.




A surge of small earthquakes has been reported around Iceland's Katla volcano, but scientists said Tuesday there is no immediate concern that the increased seismic activity will trigger a dangerous eruption. Although earthquakes around Katla are common, an increase in cluster earthquakes is not. "It's one of the most feared volcanos, so we're closely monitoring it," said Pall Einarsson of the University of Iceland. "That said, it's normal for earthquakes to be detected around Katla. What's a bit unusual is that we're seeing swarms of small earthquakes, some occurring every 10 minutes or so." Iceland sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge. Eruptions, common throughout Iceland's history, are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface. Like earthquakes, predicting the timing of volcanic eruptions is an imprecise science. Last year's eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano forced hundreds of people to be evacuated and paralyzed international air travel for weeks because of a hovering ash cloud. And history has shown that when Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupts, Katla — located under the massive Myrdalsjokull icecap — isn't far behind. Katla, which threatens disastrous flooding if its ice cap melts, typically awakens every 80 years or so, and last erupted in 1918. Activity around Katla started to increase around July but has since grown even stronger. The strongest earthquake detected so far has been a 3.0 magnitude. There also was flooding that wiped out a bridge in July. Like people, each volcano has a different personality of sorts, says Einarsson. "We look at the behavior, try to analyze patterns and then try to come up with an explanation," says Einarsson. "This is a bit difficult to interpret so far, but it's correct to say that it signals some sort of activity in the volcano and some sort of magna intrusions are probably taking place." Geologists also are worried about the Hekla volcano, which unlike Katla, is not covered by a glacier and produces little seismic activity. During the Middle Ages, Icelanders called the Hekla volcano, the country's most active, the "Gateway to Hell," believing that souls were dragged into the fire below. "If we saw earthquakes like this in Hekla, we would immediately signal a warning sign," Einarsson said. Another one of Iceland's volcanos proved particularly deadly in 1783. When Laki erupted, it freed gases that turned into smog. The smog floated across the jet stream, changing weather patterns. Many died from gas poisoning in the British Isles. Crop production fell in western Europe. Famine spread. "Everyone has their eyes on a big Katla eruption," said Andy Russell with Newcastle University's Earth Surface Processes Research Group, who travels frequently to Iceland for research. "You can never say never, but I don't think there's need for alarm right now." Russell said past Katla eruptions have caused floods the size of the Amazon and sent boulders as big as houses tumbling down valleys and roads. Flooding occurred within 45 minutes of the eruption, he said. Iceland is one of the few places in the world where a mid-ocean ridge actually rises above sea level. Many volcanic eruptions along the ocean basin often go undetected because they can't be easily seen. - AP.


GLOBAL ALERT: Earth-Directed M5.3 Solar Flares, Possibly X Flares! UPDATE: STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY - Sunspot Produces X2.1 Flares! UPDATE: Another Strong X-Class Solar Flare Erupted On The Sun?! UPDATE: Astronauts Plans To Abandon International Space Station? UPDATE: Massive blackout hit California, Arizona, Detroit & Mexico! UPDATE: Geomagnetic Storm Watch and MERCURY-Directed CMEs!


According to Spaceweather.com, Sunspot 1283 is crossing the center of the solar disk and any flares from the region today would be squarely Earth-directed.

EARTH-DIRECTED FLARE: This morning at 0150 UT, sunspot 1283 produced an M5.3-class solar flare. A movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the flash of extreme UV radiation. Because of the sunspot’s central location on the solar disk, the eruption was Earth-directed and a Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) might be heading our way... Around the time of the explosion, a number of plasma clouds were already billowing away from the sun, adding an element of confusion to the analysis. Tentatively, we expect Earth’s magnetic field to receive a glancing blow from a CME on September 8th or 9th. Spaceweather.
WATCH: Solar Watcher's Interpretation of the incoming solar flares.


Based on the 3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast from NOAA / Space Weather Prediction Center, the solar activity forecast is expected to be moderate during the period (07 - 09 September) with more M-class flare activity likely from Region 1283 and the geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at mostly quiet levels through the period (07 - 09 September). The halo-CME mentioned above is not expected to affect the field during the forecast period.


However, given the "element of confusion" noted in the report from Spaceweather.com, the preceding diagram of the Solar X-Ray Flux, and the understated nature with which information is filtered to the wider public; it is quite possible to deduce that we might be feeling the effects from class X solar flares as well. According to the Dr. Mensur Omerbashich, the theoretical geophysicist, Comet Elenin's alignment with the Earth and other planets resulted in major earthquakes and increased seismicity. In addition, he believes that the comet is quite large, with enough mass and gravitational field to affect the Sun and influence seismic events on our planet. On September 11 (9/11), the comet will reach perihelion or when closest to the Sun.

Is it possible that we are witnessing the effects from this imminent achievement, now?

UPDATE: STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY - Active Sunspot Produces X2.1 Flares!
As I had theorized earlier, the Earth will be pummeled by class X solar flares, and now Spaceweather.com is confirming it.
STRONG SOLAR ACTIVITY: Sunspot 1283 is crackling with solar flares. Yesterday, Sept. 6th, the active region produced an M5.3-class eruption at 0150 UT followed by a X2.1-class event at 2220 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this extreme UV flash from the X-flare: The flares produced waves of ionization in Earth's upper atmosphere, briefly altering the propagation of low-frequency radio signals around our planet. Moreover, the two eruptions hurled clouds of plasma (CMEs) in our general direction. A preliminary analysis of SOHO and STEREO imagery suggests that the CMEs could sail substantially north of Earth, delivering a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field as they pass. ETA: Sept. 8-10. Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE: SOLAR RADIO BURSTS
New update from Spaceweather.com on the ongoing Earth-directed solar flares:
SOLAR RADIO BURSTS: This week's sharp increase in solar activity has turned the sun into a radio transmitter. Bursts of shortwave static are coming from the unstable magnetic canopy of sunspot 1283. Yesterday in New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded some samples at 21 MHz: listen. Radio listeners should remain alert for this kind of solar activity as sunspot 1283 continues to seethe.
UPDATE: Another Strong X-Class Solar Flare Erupts on the Sun!

Spaceweather.com has just indicated that:
ANOTHER X-FLARE: Earth-orbiting satellites have detected another strong flare from sunspot 1283. The X1.8-class event at 2238 UT on Sept. 7th produced a bright flash of extreme UV radiation and hurled an inky-dark plume of plasma into space. This is the third significant flare from sunspot 1283 since Sept. 6th. All three eruptions propelled CMEs in the general direction of Earth. Not one of the CMEs, however, will hit our planet squarely. Glancing blows from the three clouds will commence sometime on Sept. 9th and continue through Sept. 11th, possibly sparking minor geomagnetic storms. X-flares of Solar Cycle 24: There have been only a handful of X-flares since the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24. Here is a complete list so far, all in 2011: Feb. 15 (X2), March 9 (X1), Aug. 9 (X7), Sept. 6 (X2), Sept. 7 (X2). Before these five, the previous X-flare occured on Dec.14, 2006, (X1) during old Solar Cycle 23.
WATCH: X1.8 Class Solar Flare.


According to the Solar Watcher, the targeting Coronal Hole (CH475) in the northern hemisphere which could produce a significant earthquake possibly 8+ in magnitude. Time frame September 11th (9/11).
First region is plotted to 9-17° North Latitude. Possible regions that could be at risk for a significant earthquake are: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Andaman Islands, Guam or Mariana Islands. Southern Hemisphere watch for a possible 5.8-6.3 Magnitude earthquake. Areas targeted with coronal hole symmetry are : Ascension Islands Region, South mid Atlantic Ridge, Samoa or Tonga. Papua Indonesia or New Britain Region Papua New Guinea could be at risk for a 5.5-5.9 magnitude earthquake based on deep event felt in the Kermadec Islands Sep 7th. OLR anomaly show significant radiation signatures in Bonin Islands, Izu Islands, Gulf Of Mexico extending through to Guatemala and Honduras. Ionospheric Anomalies are showing North of India and south western Indonesia and an unusual signature towards Samoa Region.
WATCH: Earthquake targets.


UPDATE: Astronauts Prepare to Temporarily Abandon International Space Station?

As Comet Elenin approaches closer to the Sun and solar activity increases, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station said Monday that ground controllers are figuring out how best to leave the vast complex running -- what lights to leave on, which vents to keep open -- in case it needs to be temporarily abandoned.

A Russian rocket carrying space station supplies failed during liftoff two weeks ago and crashed into Siberia. It's the same type of rocket used to launch people to the station. Until Russian engineers can figure out what went wrong, all Soyuz launches are on hold. Six men are living aboard the space station. Three of them will leave late next week, a week late to keep the outpost fully staffed as long as possible. A new crew of three was supposed to blast off this month. But the flight has been delayed until at least the beginning of November, just two weeks before the three remaining residents would have to leave. Given that the investigation is still ongoing, "there are a lot of things that have to stack up" to allow for an early November launch, said U.S. astronaut Michael Fossum. Fossum said he and his two crewmates will leave the space station in the best possible condition if it must be vacated. - Fox News.
UPDATE: Massive blackout hits California, Arizona, Detroit & Mexico!

A major outage and massive blackout knocked out power in a region of almost 6 million people in the Southwest and Mexico on Thursday, bringing California, Arizona, Detroit, San Diego and Mexico to a near-standstill and leaving people in the surrounding desert to swelter in late-summer heat.

Two nuclear reactors along the coast went offline after losing electricity, but officials said there was no danger to the public or workers. Power officials were just beginning to investigate what caused the blackout, which began shortly before 4 p.m. But it likely could be traced to an employee removing a piece of monitoring equipment at a power substation in southwest Arizona, they said. San Diego bore the brunt of the problems, and as night fell, much of the nation's eighth-largest city was in darkness, its freeways clogged all outgoing flights grounded at its main airport, Lindbergh Field. Police stations were forced to use generators to accept emergency calls across the area. But there were no signs of widespread looting or other unrest related to the outage. The blackout extended east to Yuma, Ariz. where more than 56,000 people temporarily were left in the dark; power was restored there about five hours later. Power also was back on by 10 p.m. in about a dozen cities in San Diego and Orange counties, officials said. Nine of San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s 115 substations were also back in service. - GlobalTVBC.
WATCH: Power out for millions in America.



UPDATE: GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH & MERCURY-DIRECTED CMEs!

The latest updates from Spaceweather.com, illustrates the reasons for these blackouts:

Click image to watch the Andy Devey's capture.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: A series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) propelled toward Earth by the recent eruptions of sunspot 1283 will deliver glancing blows to Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 9th - 11th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras in the nights ahead.  ACTIVE SUNSPOT: Sunspot 1283 is producing flares so intense they are visible through solar telescopes in backyards 93 million miles away. Amateur astronomer Andy Devey photographed this one, and M6-class eruption, from Barnsley UK on Sept. 8th. The magnetic canopy of sunspot 1283 has an unstable "beta-gamma-delta" configuration tthat harbors energy for more powerful eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of M-flares and a 25% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.
The Earth is not the only planet facing these solar flares and CMEs:

Click on the image to watch CME's impact on Mercury.

MERCURY-DIRECTED CME: On Sept 8th around 2300 UT, the SOHO and STEREO spacecraft detected a significant CME emerging from the farside of the sun. Earth is not in the line of fire, but the planet Mercury is. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab estimate that the cloud will reach the innermost planet on Sept. 9th at 12:00 UT (plus minus 7 hours). NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is in orbit around Mercury, so it will have a front row seat for the impact. Researchers are keen to learn how Mercury's magnetosphere responds to CMEs. In particular, they wonder if CMEs can overpower Mercury's magnetic field and sputter atoms right off the planet's surface. Thanks to the Goddard forecast, MESSENGER's controllers know the CME is coming, and they can prepare to observe the impact. Interplanetary space weather forecasting is a new thing. It became possible in 2010-2011 when NASA and ESA spacecraft surrounded the sun. Working together, SOHO, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, STEREO-A and STEREO-B now have the entire star under surveillance. CMEs can be tracked no matter where they go, which means space weather isn't just for Earth anymore.

Stay tuned. More anon.