Monday, August 5, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For August 5, 2013 - Updates On Shiveluch, Ulawun, Raung, Paluweh, Ambrym, White Island, Veniaminof, Popocatépetl, Santa María, Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens And Telica!

August 05, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The volcano has been increasingly active during the past days. This morning, an explosive eruption produced an ash plume rising to 21-22,000 ft (6.5-7 km) altitude which drifted ESE. The eruption lasted about 20 minutes, KVERT writes.


Current webcam image of Sheveluch (KVERT webcam).

Glow is visible from the lava dome at night, suggesting that a phase of more vigorous growth is in the process.


Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): An SO2 plume visible today indicates that some activity has been taking place at the volcano.


SO2 plume from Ulawun volcano (NOAA).


Raung (East Java): A weak SO2 plume (which could be from Ijen and/or Raung volcanoes) is visible on today's satellite data. Recently, mild strombolian activity was observed in the summit crater, which might still be continuing.


SO2 plume from Raung volcano (NOAA).


Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): A partial collapse of the lava dome occurred yesterday and produced an explosion and (probably) pyroclastic flows. An ash plume rose to about 3 km (9,000 ft) altitude.

Our friend Aris who visited the area after the event reported that bombs were ejected to up to 1 km distance and estimates that the collapse removed about 20% of the dome.


Ambrym (Vanuatu): An elevated SO2 plume from Ambrym shows up regularly on satellite data, suggesting that lava continues to arrive into the vents, maintaining active lava lakes in Benbow and Marum.


SO2 plume from Ambrym volcano (NOAA).

A series of smaller explosive eruptions seems to have occurred around 26 July, GeoHazards mentioned, based on seismic signals.


White Island (New Zealand): Activity in the main crater has decreased and the Aviation Colour Code has been lowered to Green.

GeoNet reports: "The bursts of steam, gas and mud clearly seen last week are no longer visible through the volcano cameras. Volcanic tremor that was high at the end of last week has now decreased to near-background levels... [read more]


Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): Seismic activity continues to decline, but remains above background levels. Clouds have obscured observations of the volcano in satellite and web camera images for the past week, so it is unclear whether low-level eruptive is continuing. (AVO daily update)


Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): A trend of slowly increasing activity has been apparent over the past days. For the 24 hour interval of 3-4 Aug, CENAPRED recorded 93 emissions, i.e. about 4 per hour, and seismic activity has been stronger recently as well.


SO2 plume from Popocatépetl yesterday (NOAA).

Interrupting the relatively small emissions of mostly steam and gas, the volcano produces some more significant explosions of stronger size sporadically, with ash plumes typically 1-2 km height. The following webcam image video compiled by Canal Volcan shows such activity beautifully on 2 Aug:... [read more]


Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): No changes in activity need to be reported. The lava dome continues to produce occasionally small explosions and feeds at least one weakly active block lava flow on the southern slope of the dome.

Insivumeh warns of possible lahars that the current heavy rains could trigger.


Pacaya (Guatemala): After the short surge of activity last week, the volcano has been very calm. INSIVUMEH reports no explosions, but this is probably partly due to cloud cover preventing observations.


Fuego (Guatemala): The level of activity has remained low, characterized by weak strombolian activity and a small lava flow on the upper southern flank.


Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity with frequent volcanic-tectonic quakes remains above background. A series of small earthquakes with magnitudes up to about 2 has been occurring recently directly under the volcano.



Current seismic recording at Telica (TELN station, INETER).


Mount Rainier/ Mount St. Helens (United States) Elevated seismicity continues at Mount Rainier (station STAR) and near Mount Saint Helens (station SHW) volcanoes in the Washington Cascades, US.


Image: Google.


Event depths at Mount Saint Helens average around 13 km and form a radial pattern in relation to the volcano, nearly opposite the northeast-trending spoke of seismicity which had affected the volcano through most of this summer.

Earthquake depths at Rainier are much shallower (averaging 3 to 4 km depth) and likely reflect minor adjustments within the volcano’s hydrothermal system.

Small earthquakes also continue to emanate from the hydrothermal system beneath Lassen Peak volcano (CA) (station MEM), as “slow-slip” continues along the subduction zone west of the volcano.  Seismicity seems to be easing beneath the “South Moat” of Long Valley caldera (CA).





SOURCES: Volcano Discovery | Earthquake Report.




DELUGE: Drought Relief - Flooding In Parts Of The Midwest, Plains, Rockies And Desert Southwest Of The United States Brings Welcome Rainfall; But Residents Will Experience "Side-Effect" Of Severe Thunderstorms, Damaging Winds And Large Hail!

August 05, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The once parched Midwest is again dealing with heavy rains that have produced flash flooding in Kansas and Missouri. 


Photo: Kendra Mendoza.

Drivers have been urged to stay off Hutchinson, Kan. streets after more than 4 inches of rain deluged the town and caused widespread flooding.  The Hutchinson News reports even large military-type vehicles couldn't get through some streets Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service described the flooding as big. Rainfall amounts ranged from 3.8 inches to 4.8 inches.

Drivers have been urged to stay off Hutchinson, Kan. streets after more than 4 inches of rain deluged the town and caused widespread flooding.  The Hutchinson News reports even large military-type vehicles couldn't get through some streets Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service described the flooding as big. Rainfall amounts ranged from 3.8 inches to 4.8 inches.


Photo: Reanna S.

Photo: Aaron Flippin

Photo: Forever Chasing


And even though the rain has stopped for the hardest hit areas, rising waters are still a concern through the overnight hours.  Many flood warnings in southwest Missouri remain in effect until midday Monday.

Rain, showers and thunderstorms are expected to return Monday.  Potentially exacerbating the ongoing issues with rising area creeks and rivers.  Below are a collection of pictures we found that show the flooding in the worst hit areas.





Oklahoma has received the most benefit from the recent rain; as of July 30th, nearly half the state was not categorized as either "dry" or "in drought" conditions.  Just six months ago, the entire state was withering in drought and almost 40 percent of the Sooner State was classified as experiencing an exceptional drought, the most dire category in the Drought Monitor analysis.

There's more welcome news for the parts of the thirsty drought area ahead.

A stalled east-west frontal boundary will be a dominant feature over the central Plains and Front Range of the Rockies this week.

Lingering deep moisture near the frontal boundary will fire off clusters of thunderstorms during the afternoon, evening, and overnight.




Through late week, the corridor that may see the most rain looks to set up from the Lower Ohio Valley into Missouri, Kansas and eastern Colorado.

Unfortunately, as often the case in summer, these thunderstorm clusters may bring "too much of a good thing", with the threat of heavy rainfall (2"+ rainfall rates per hour or more) and flash flooding.

This occurred early Sunday morning as Hutchinson, Kan., received 4.32" of rain in just two hours, leading to major street flooding.

Severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds and large hail, may also be a "side-effect" of this drought relief.




Even though drought remains firmly entrenched in some areas, a large swath of New Mexico, southern Colorado, and eastern Arizona are expected to see additional improvement in the next few months.

That means less strain on aquifers and other water resources, as well as a decreased fire danger for parts of the Four Corners region.

While the recent rains have been helpful, the High Plains and West still has a long way to go to effectively "zero-out" the drought. - TWC.





PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mass Bird Die-Off - Hundreds Of Ducks Die From "Worst Outbreak Of Botulism" In Harrow Lodge Park, London, England?!

August 05, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Lawrence Howes, a volunteer from the Swan Sanctuary, a charity that cares for swans and waterfowl, said that it was the “worst outbreak” he had ever seen in the Hornchurch park.

He added: “It has happened before, but this one is particularly potent.


The cygnets were photographed in June by Hornchurch resident John Hercock.


“I have never known it this bad in Harrow Lodge Park.”

The volunteers at the park have been scooping up dead ducks since the beginning of the week.

The swans have also been affected by the bacteria and today the volunteers noticed that the disease had killed three cygnets.

Resident Patricia Dowsett said: “It is heart breaking.

“It is so sad to see those innocent creatures dying helplessly.”

Lawrence added: “It is really terrible.

“This normally affects the ducks, but it has taken the lives of three cygnets.”

Botulism is a disease in lakes produced by botulinum bacterium.

It is caused when air temperatures rise and water and oxygen levels drop.

It also thrives in hot, dry weather.


Three cygnets were discovered dead today as a result of the outbreak of botulism.

Havering Council have put signs up in the park warning people to keep their dogs on leads around the lake.

A spokesman for Havering Council said: “We are working hard to relieve the problem.

“We’ve put bales of barley into the lake which release oxygen as they break down and tomorrow we will be installing pumping machines which will pump oxygen into the lake and cool the water.

“This should help significantly. As a precaution, we’re asking people to avoid using the lake for boating or fishing over the weekend, while we complete tests on the water and let the pumps have an effect.” - Romford Recorder.




MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Hot And Bothered - Study Says That Climate Change Amplifies Violence; Could Have Resulted In The Collapse Of Civilizations Such As The Mayans?!

August 05, 2013 - UNITED STATES - As the planet's climate changes, humans everywhere should brace for a spike in violence, a new study suggests. Civilization as we know it may even be at risk.


This file photo shows a temple in the Kingdom of Tikal, one of the most prominent of the Classic Maya Period.
New research links climate change to violence and the collapse of civilizations including the Maya.

The dramatic finding comes from a synthesis of several dozen studies that examine the relationship between climate and conflict. The studies cover most regions of the world and points in time over the past 10,000 years. Across all, the findings are consistent: changes in temperature or rainfall amplify violence.

"As long as future populations continue to respond to climatic events the same way … we should probably expect an amplification of interpersonal and intergroup conflict moving forward," Solomon Hsiang, a public policy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told NBC News.

The underlying mechanism for the causal link is unclear, he and colleagues note in the paper published Thursday in Science. Theories range from the psychological effect of hot temperatures making people testy to drought destroying crops, which erodes local economies and raises unemployment.

"It is easier to start a riot when there are lots of young men around who have very little to do, who are not participating in the formal economy," Hsiang said.

Mark missed?


The research, he noted, is intended as a rigorous approach to the question of what — if any — role climate plays in human conflict in order to advance the debate beyond the question of a link to the development of policies that can break the linkage.

"The purpose of the study is ambitious and good," Halvard Buhaug, the research director at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway, told NBC News in an email. "Unfortunately, it falls short of its target and the sweeping conclusion does not hold water."

Among his criticisms is wide disagreement among the studies analyzed: A third, he noted, fail to show a statistically significant effect of climate on conflict and those that do disagree on the relationship — too much rain, or not enough, as increasing the risk of conflict, for example.

What's more, he said, the paper lacks case studies of real conflicts from modern times that were caused, at least in part, by climate extremes.

"If a general and strong causal link has been established beyond reasonable doubt, as the authors claim, I would expect them to be able to point to at least a handful of recent armed conflicts where unusual fluctuations in climatic conditions played a central role," he said.

Future warning


Hsiang holds firm to the analysis, which weeded out hundreds of papers because their quality was insufficient and open to biased interpretation. The few dozen that met the team's criteria were then reanalyzed and paint a consistent picture "that leads to a much stronger conclusion," he said.

The team uses a measure of how different a climate is relative to normal, called standard deviation, to compare different regions of the world, which have different climates.

A standard deviation of one, for example, corresponds to a month in New York that is 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal or a year in Nigeria that is 0.7 degrees F warmer than normal. This translates to a 4 percent rise in interpersonal violence, such as domestic abuse, and a 14 percent jump in intergroup conflict, such as civil war.

By 2050, most parts of the world are expected to warm by 2 to 4 standard deviations. "That suggests that we could potentially have a dramatic increase in violence, particularly in the form of intergroup conflict … it could be in excess of 50 percent in some regions," Hsiang said.

Such intergroup conflicts underpinned by changes in climate have been linked to the collapse of civilizations around the world, including the Maya between the 8th and 9th centuries and China's Ming Dynasty in the 17th century, which experienced prolonged droughts at the time of their demise.

"Many populations in the modern world," Hsiang noted, "actually exhibit a similar level of economic development that those historical populations had at the time of their collapse." - NBC News.




EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Another Sizzling Week Ahead For Central, Eastern Europe - Temperatures Could Climb Above 100 Degrees Fahrenheit!

August 05, 2013 - EUROPE - Hot air remains in place over much of central and eastern Europe, and it looks to stay in place for much of the week, leading to some of the hottest weather of the year.


Photo courtesy of Photos.com

A sizzling week is set to continue from Italy, eastward into Greece, and north into Ukraine and even into Finland.

Sunday was a continuation of the heat as some parts of Europe climbed to over 100 F (38 C) degrees. Sandanski, Bulgaria, which normally sees high temperatures around 90 F (32 C) degrees, the high climbed to 101 F (38 C) degrees on Sunday, and this warmth is looking to continue through much of the week.

Photo courtesy of Photos.com

Helsinki, Finland, also saw plenty of heat too. The high climbed to 81 F (27 C) degrees in the city, where the normal high is only 69 F (21 C) degrees. This is right about the same temperature that New York City, N.Y., saw on Sunday, about 1,300 miles further north.

The heat has lessened over western Europe as the highs this past week climbed well above normal with the strong southerly flow around. This week, temperatures for western Europe look to be right around normal.

The heat will continue through the week as the strong high pressure remains over eastern Europe. In fact, it may take until the weekend for any cooler air to start to push into Bulgaria, Greece and even southern Italy.

While this kind of heat is not uncommon, it does not occur often with such a long duration. In much of Europe, air conditioning is much less common and can lead to health problems, especially with the warm temperatures at night not allowing homes to cool down. - AccuWeather.



MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Almost 500 Fish Found Dead In The River Colne, Hertfordshire, England?!

August 05, 2013 - ENGLAND - Almost 500 fish were found dead in a stretch of the River Colne.


File photo.

Environment Agency officers were called to the river near Station Road in Earls Colne, behind the industrial estate, on Sunday afternoon.

At this stage the cause of the deaths of the fish, of which 40 were adults and the rest were babies, is unknown.

The officers have been monitored the river between Sunday and Tuesday and said there was no risk to humans or any other animals.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Based on a survey on Tuesday morning, we are confident that there will be no further fish deaths.

“We are now investigating the cause of the deaths, and have sent dead fish to our labs for analysis.”

The results are expected to take about a week.

In June last year the same stretch of river was affected after thousands of litres of pesticide spilled into Toppesfield Brook and affected 10km of the River Colne. - Halstead Gazette.




STORM ALERT: Henriette May Strengthen Into Hurricane In The Pacific - Projected To Reach Hawaii By Weekend!

August 05, 2013 - PACIFIC OCEAN - Behind Tropical Depression Gil, a new system strengthened to become Tropical Storm Henriette on Sunday.


This is the track Henriette is likely to take over the coming days.


For the time being, Henriette is far away from any land, just as Gil was when it formed last week.

The new tropical storm developed from Tropical Depression 8-E that formed in the eastern Pacific early Saturday morning.

This is the track Henriette is likely to take over the coming days.

While the remnants of Gil are expected to track to the south of Hawaii over the next several days, Tropical Storm Henriette likely will take a different path.

Henriette appears like it will take a more northerly path, likely strengthening into a hurricane by Tuesday. As it continues to track to the west-northwest through late week, Henriette will encounter cooler water and weaken.

The storm is projected to reach near Hawaii by late in the weekend, perhaps enhancing showers and stirring higher surf.

Stay tuned with AccuWeather.com meteorologists for the latest details on the tropical development of both Gil and Henriette. - AccuWeather.




THE PRIEST CLASS OF THE MAGI: Precursors To The Total Collapse Of Global Economic Order, Christian Dominionism And The White Supremacy Paradigm - THE VATICAN And Consulates Thrown Into Chaos As Britain's Biggest Bank, HSBC, Tells Them To Find Another Bank!

August 05, 2013 - BRITAIN - Diplomats in London have been thrown into chaos after Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC, sacked them as customers and gave them 60 days to move their accounts.


Marching orders: The Vatican's representative office in Britain has been told by HSBC to find another bank.

Their situation has been made far worse because other banks have been closing ranks and refusing to take their business.

More than 40 embassies, consulates and High Commissions have been affected. Even the Vatican has been given its marching orders.

The Pope’s representative office in Britain, the Apostolic Nunciature, has banked with HSBC for many years but was told to find another bank.

One diplomatic source said he believed HSBC feared being exposed to embassies after it was fined $2billion (£1.32billion) by US authorities last year.

 It was blamed for alleged money-laundering activities said to have been conducted through its Latin American operations by drug cartels. HSBC admitted at the time that it had failed to effectively counter money laundering.

Bernard Silver, head of the Consular Corps, which represents consuls in the UK, said: ‘HSBC’s decision has created havoc. Embassies and consulates desperately need a bank, not just to take in money for visas and passports, but to pay staff wages, rent bills, even the congestion charge.’

Embassies also have to pay for ambassadorial accommodation and sometimes even school fees for diplomats’ children. None of these bills can be settled without a valid British bank account.


Havoc: HSBC's decision to sack embassies as customers has caused chaos also because
other banks refused to take their business.

John Belavu, minister at the Papua New Guinea High Commission, said: ‘We’ve been banking with HSBC for 22 years and for them to throw us off in this way was a bombshell.’

Lawrence Landau, honorary consul of Benin, said: ‘We have been trying everyone, but all the UK banks are clamming up.’

Other embassies are equally fraught. One said: ‘HSBC did not give us any real explanation. They have only given us until the middle of August to find another bank. We can’t find one and we are going crazy.’

Banking sources said diplomatic missions are considered to be ‘politically exposed’, which means they are at risk of money laundering activities.

HSBC, however, claims its decision is part of an assessment of all business customers to see if they satisfy five criteria – ‘international connectivity, economic development, profitability, cost efficiency and liquidity’.

One diplomat said: ‘We don’t even know what these criteria mean.’

HSBC would not explain the requirements to The Mail on Sunday and merely said: ‘HSBC has been applying a rolling programme of “five filter” assessments to all its businesses since May 2011, and our services for embassies are no exception.’

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office said it was in contact with HSBC and had provided a number of diplomatic missions with letters of introduction ‘to help in opening a new bank account’.

The debacle comes as HSBC prepares to unveil its half-year profits tomorrow. The group is expected to report that it made $14.6billion (£9.6billion) in profits for the first six months of the year. It made $12.7billion in the same period last year. - Daily Mail.






FUK-U-SHIMA: You Won't BELIEVE What's Going On At Fukushima Right Now - State Of Emergency At Fukushima Declared, Radioactive Water Likely Breached Barrier; Huge Leak Of Tritium Feared, As Toxic Water Entering Sea For Years Tainting Ocean Life!

August 05, 2013 - JAPAN - You’ve heard bad news about Fukushima recently. But it’s much worse than you know.




You Won't BELIEVE What's Going On At Fukushima Right Now.
The Wall Street Journal notes that radiation levels outside the plant are likely higher than inside the reactor:
NRA [Nuclear Regulation Authority] officials said highly contaminated water may be leaking into the soil from a number of trenches, allowing the water to seep into the site’s groundwater and eventually into the ocean.

***

Both radioactive substances are considered harmful to health. An NRA official said Monday that the very high levels were likely to be even higher than those within the reactor units themselves.

***

It was by far the highest concentration of radioactivity detected since soon after Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ….
How could it be more radioactive outside the nuclear reactors? The reactors have lost containment, and experts have no idea where the nuclear cores are.

And the problems which have been detected at ground-level are only the tip of the iceberg.  Japan Times points out:
Cesium levels in water under Fukushima No. 1 plant soar the deeper it gets, Tepco reveals

***

Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.

Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.

***

Cesium, a metallic element, is subject to gravity.
Yomiuri reports that highly-radioactive groundwater could start coming to the surface at the Fukushima plant:
TEPCO spokesman Noriyuki Imaizumi revealed the water level of the tainted groundwater in a test well located on the sea side of the No. 2 reactor has risen rapidly.

If the water level continues to rise, it could reach the ground surface,” Imaizumi, an acting general manager of the company’s nuclear power-related division, said at a press conference Monday.

According to the company, the water level has risen about 70 centimeters over the past 20 days.

***

To prevent contaminated groundwater from leaking into the sea, TEPCO is working to reinforce the ground foundation of seawalls. The rising water level in the test well means the measures to prevent leakage have been working.

However, the company apparently failed to give much thought to the fact that the groundwater would have nowhere else to go ….
Even Tepco admits that the groundwater problems are due to a lack of planning.  NHK points out:
[Tepco] learnt on Wednesday that its efforts to prevent radiation-tainted groundwater from seeping into the sea are failing.

***

TEPCO has been trying to solidify the embankment of the crippled power plant.

***

TEPCO says water levels in one of the contaminated wells have risen by about 1 meter since the work began in early July.

It says this is likely the result of its work to solidify the ground  [to a depth of 16 meters], using chemicals.

The company says soil up to 2 meters below the ground cannot be hardened, and water may be seeping out.
In addition, a top expert says that radioactive water could be flowing beneath the seafloor … and could well up outside of the port “containment” zone:
Atsunao Marui, head of the Groundwater Research Group at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said, “Groundwater also flows beneath the seafloor, so it’s possible that contaminated groundwater could spring up outside the port.”

Marui added that water outside the port also needs to be carefully checked.
Reuters notes that the bolts in Fukushima’s tanks will corrode in just a few years, and a plant workers reveal — “Tepco says it doesn’t know how long tanks will hold”:
Experts say Tepco is attempting the most ambitious nuclear clean-up in history, even greater than the Chernobyl disaster ….

***

Radioactive water that cools the reactors …]mixes with some 400 tonnes of fresh groundwater pouring into the plant daily.

Workers have built more than 1,000 tanks ….

With more than 85 percent of the 380,000 tonnes of storage capacity filled, Tepco has said it could run out of space.

The tanks are built from parts of disassembled old containers brought from defunct factories and put together with new parts, workers from the plant told Reuters. They say steel bolts in the tanks will corrode in a few years.

Tepco says it does not know how long the tanks will hold.
Asahi writes:
[Tepco's] appallingly shoddy handling of radioactive water that is leaking from the crippled plant into the sea.

***

At the No. 3 reactor, highly radioactive mystery steam has been spotted.

The fact that radioactive substances are still being released into the ground, the sea and the air is irrefutable proof that the nuclear disaster of March 2011 is not over. The responsible parties must take this situation gravely ….
The utility’s glaring ineptitude with crisis management was noted right from the start of the Fukushima disaster.

***

We have zero faith in the utility’s reliability as an operator of any nuclear power plant. In fact, allowing the company to handle nuclear energy is simply out of the question.

The entire company now needs to be focused on preventing radioactive substances from escaping into the environment.
Yomiuri argues that the government agency overseeing Fukushima has no idea what’s going on:
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, which oversees safety management at the nuclear plant, decided to set up a working team to analyze conditions concerning contamination.

But the NRA’s actions have also been badly delayed. At a meeting Monday, an expert said the NRA still can’t grasp the risks posed by the current situation.”
As Enformable points out, top Japanese officials are finally calling for Tepco to be fired:
In case one hasn’t paid attention the constant stream of international experts who have called for TEPCO to be removed as the organization in charge of decommissioning the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has also called for Tokyo Electric to be removed. “It is simply too big for one company to handle,” said Tanaka, at a press conference Wednesday. “Placing all the burden (of controlling the site) on them won’t solve the problem.”
(Background.)
Remember, an official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design.  And yet the Japanese government has allowed the culprit – Tepco – to oversee the “cleanup”, in the same way that the U.S. government allowed BP to oversee the “cleanup” of the Gulf oil spill even though BP’s criminal negligence caused the spill in the first place.
ABC Australia reports:
It’s taken about two-and-a-half years, but it seems the Japanese government is finally losing patience with the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The reason: its haphazard approach to stabilising the complex. Last week it was unexplained steam rising from the shattered remains of the building housing the melted reactor number three. This week it’s TEPCO’s admission that radioactive water from the plant has probably been leaking into the Pacific for the last three months.
Indeed, Asahi notes:
The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant sat on its hands for more than two years despite having pledged to seal a leaking hole in a turbine building ….
NHK writes:
[Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide] Suga told reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the government views this as a grave matter.
Tepco’s own advisors are also blasting the operator of the stricken nuclear plant.  AFP points out:
Foreign nuclear experts on Friday blasted the operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water leaks showed you don’t know what you’re doing… “appears that you are not keeping the people of Japan informed. These actions indicate that you don’t know what you are doing … you do not have a plan and that you are not doing all you can to protect the environment and the people.” [said Dale Klein, Former NRC Chairman and Tepco advisory committee member]
Nuclear expert – and former high-level nuclear industry executive – Arnie Gundersen says that Fukushima has “contaminated the biggest body of water on the planet”, and that the whole Pacific Ocean likely to have cesium levels 5-10 times higher than at peak of nuclear bomb tests.
How could this happen?   Doesn’t the ocean dilute radiation to the point it is rendered harmless?  No, actually:
Japan Times notes:
Fukushima … seems to lurch from one problem to the next ….

***

When the situation is so bad that Shunichi Tanaka, the NRA chairman, is stating in a press conference, with regard to water leaks, that if you have any better ideas, we’d like to know,” it should be clear that Fukushima No. 1 still requires the upmost attention.
The chairman of the NRA also says (via the New York Times):
Considering the state of the plant, it’s difficult to find a solution today or tomorrowThat’s probably not satisfactory to many of you. But that’s the reality we face after an accident like this… We don’t truly know whether that will work….
Indeed, technology doesn’t currently even exist to stabilize and clean up Fukushima, and Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has only been pretending to clean it up. And see this. - Zero Hedge.



State Of Emergency At Fukushima, Radioactive Water Likely Breached Barrier.
Radioactive groundwater at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has likely risen above an underground barrier meant to contain it, presenting an "emergency" that the plant's operator is not sufficiently addressing, a regulatory watchdog official said on Monday.

This contaminated groundwater is likely seeping into the sea, exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, and a workaround planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co will only forestall the growing problem temporarily, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority task force, told Reuters.

"Right now we have a state of emergency," Kinjo said, saying there is a "rather high possibility" that the radioactive wastewater has breached the barrier and is rising towards the ground's surface, Kinjo said.

A Tepco official said the utility was taking various measures to prevent contaminated water from leaking into the bay near the plant.

It was not immediately clear how much of a threat the possible increase in contaminated groundwater could cause. In the weeks following the 2011 disaster that destroyed the plant, the Japanese government allowed Tepco to dump tens of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water into the nearby Pacific Ocean in an emergency move.

The toxic water release was heavily criticised by neighbouring countries as well as local fishermen and the utility has since promised it would not dump irradiated water without the consent of local townships. - Reuters.



Huge Leak Of Tritium Feared, As Toxic Water Entering Sea For Years Tainting Ocean Life.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that an estimated 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of tritium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011.

The utility reported the estimate Friday to the Nuclear Regulation Authority after recently admitting that toxic water from the emergency cooling system set up after the nuclear crisis began on March 11, 2011, is leaking into the sea.

Nevertheless, Tepco said the size of the release is roughly in the allowed range of 22 trillion becquerels a year but acknowledged it didn’t take place in a controlled manner. Tritium has a half-life of about 12 years.

Since it doesn’t know when the leak began, the utility has assumed the beginning was in May 2011, after it attempted to stop the toxic water from entering the ocean when it was discovered in April 2011.

The constant injection of water that is needed to keep the damaged reactors cool after the core meltdowns of March 2011 are generating a new radiation crisis at the plant that officials appear unable to solve without tainting the ocean and marine life. - Japan Times.



MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: "We Don't Know What's Causing The Upswing" - Mystery Surrounds Rise In Dolphin Deaths Along United States East Coast?!

August 05, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Officials are trying to determine the cause of a sharp increase in dolphin deaths in Virginia and other East Coast states.



Aug. 1, 2013: From right, Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team members Krystal Rodrique of
Virginia Beach, Va. and intern Liz Schell of Durango, Co. load a deceased male dolphin onto a metal
stretcher on Ocean View Beach in Norfolk, Va. (AP)

Five beached dolphins were found in Virginia alone on Thursday. In July, nearly four dozen dead dolphins were found, mostly in Norfolk and along the southern part of the Chesapeake Bay. That's up from the typical six or seven usually picked up in July by the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team.

"We've had a steady number coming in at the beginning of the summer, and starting last week, the numbers spiked," Susan Barco, research coordinator for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, told The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.ly/11x9uEv). "We're just trying to keep our head above water."

Delaware and Maryland also have seen an uptick in dolphin deaths. According to The Press of Atlantic City, 10 dead dolphins were picked up in Delaware between June and early July, when in a typical year only five or six are recorded. In Maryland, authorities said a spike had been noticed but exact numbers of deaths were not known.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has sent inquiries to stranding centers along the East Coast to determine whether spikes have been seen elsewhere.

In New Jersey, initial necropsy results have pointed to pneumonia, but Maggie Mooney-Seus, spokeswoman for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, was not ready to connect Virginia's die-off to what may be affecting dolphins in other states.

"We don't know at this point what has caused the upswing," she said. "Virginia is higher than New Jersey, but we don't know anything particular because we're still collecting data."

Virginia's stranding team says the elevated numbers are reminiscent off the mass deaths that occurred in 1987, when more than 750 carcasses washed ashore from New Jersey to Florida. A few years later, morbillivirus -- similar to measles -- was determined to be the culprit, as dolphins exhibited symptoms associated with measles and pneumonia.

"It's eerily familiar," Barco said of the recent strandings. "That is one virus we're looking for now."

In Virginia this year, the response team has collected the remains of 87 dolphins. The team typically picks up around 60 dolphins in an entire year.

On Thursday, Krystle Rodrique, a volunteer with the stranding team, and Liz Schell, an intern, worked to dig up the tail of a dead dolphin as waves crashed in, hampering their efforts. The team documents where the animals were found and takes photos.

Rodrique cradled the corpse, setting it down lightly on a wooden deck. Despite her gloves, the smell -- a mix of pet store and rotting fish -- will remain on her hands.

"You get used to the smell, but I never can really get it off my hands," she said. "I try to scrub them over and over again."

The sooner workers find the dolphins, the better chance they have of figuring out what is causing the deaths.

Barco said teams haven't seen any physical trauma that would indicate entanglements or sonar damage, as midfrequency naval sonar has been linked in the past to whale and dolphin deaths. Ted Brown, a spokesman for the Navy's Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, said "there has been no change or increase in sonar use that could be related" to the recent surge.

Barco said her team of 60 volunteers, eight staff members and six interns are logging extra hours and have postponed its annual dolphin count in order to keep up with the deaths. The program is funded by grants, donations and contracts, and she says it's short on time and money.

"I just put in for overtime that we can't afford to pay. We don't have a lab like some places do, so we're working out of a tent," Barco said. "This event is going to stretch us." - FOX News.



EXTREME WEATHER: Violent Tornado Sweeps Through Kingston, Australia - 25 Houses Damaged; Knocked Down Power Poles; Uproots Trees!

August 05, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - A tornado that tore through the coastal town of Kingston yesterday afternoon damaged 25 houses, knocked down power poles and trees, and tossed an aluminium dinghy like a toy.


Damage to a home in Kingston after a tornado roared through the town.
Picture: Scott Carruthers via Facebook
Source: Supplied

State Emergency Service crews responded to numerous reports of damage caused by the violent weather pattern, which swept through the Southeast fishing town at 12.38pm.


Six SES crews, including three from Adelaide, expect to be securing damaged homes today.

"We expect crews will be working right through the night and into tomorrow to secure the homes,'' an SES spokesman said. "We are also getting valuable help from CFS crews.''

SES call-outs described the weather front as a "mini tornado" while the Bureau of Meteorology called it an extreme "windshear".


The tornado storms through Kingston.
Picture: Teresa Hawke via Facebook

Despite the havoc, Kingston's famous Big Lobster was not in the path of destruction and sustained no damage.

Witness Mairi Paige said the incident was over in moments and left a narrow but dramatic trail of destruction.

"It was very quick, I happened to be outside and I thought birds were flying over but when I looked up the air was full of debris and the noise was like a freight train coming through," Ms Paige said.

"The tornado came up off the water and sheared a huge tree in two then went through the town -there is damage everywhere."

Ms Paige said the local football club was playing away today, so many people would be unaware their homes had been damaged.


A picture of the damage at Kingston sent to NewsForce by a reader.

She said locals had immediately begun helping the clean-up effort.

"It's amazing the community spirit, everyone is pitching in with trucks and chainsaws - it's really good to see how everyone is pitching in," she said.

Another witness said the stormfront was about 20m wide and had cut through the middle of town.

He said the extreme winds had "tied power lines like shoelaces".

Kingston bricklayer Dwayne Bastiaans, 44, says he was alerted to the violent storm by his dog which started barking.


The aftermath of the Kingston tornado. Picture: Teresa Hawke via Facebook

"I went out with my kids to have a look and we heard a clap of thunder, then the clouds got so thick and low you could have kicked a football into them,'' he said.

Mr Bastiaans was lucky his home was out of the tornado's path.

"We're about a kilometre from the area of destruction and it just rolled in from the foreshore and passed out to paddocks via Railway Tce - all in about 10 minutes,'' he said.

Mr Bastiaans said after it passed a sudden calm came over everything.

"The rain stopped and everyone just got outside, put gloves on and starting helping clean up,'' he said.


The Kingston tornado damaged trees and power lines.
Picture: Teresa Hawke via Facebook

Mr Bastiaans said a man told him a 3.65m dinghy (12 feet) was lifted from a backyard in Janet St which flew into a property at MacDonnell St, "across three backyards.''

"One bloke told me roofing sheets from a house in Janet St blew across the road into a house, demolishing a brick carport and lodging debris into his house, taking out powerlines on its way,'' he said.

He said the storm also picked up a large rainwater tank which smashed into pieces on landing as well as a 40m wide shed.

"Some people got lucky as their homes right next door to damaged ones were untouched," Mr Bastiaans said.

SA Power Networks say there are 1140 customers without power in the area.

Crown Inn Hotel manager Michael Broadby said the town had suffered widespread damage.

"Tiles have been ripped off the roof of houses, windows have been smashed everywhere and there are heaps of Stobie poles and power lines down," he said.

Mr Broadby said the extreme wind had whipped up off the ocean and travelled in a narrow path through the centre of the town.

"It's not like any storm I have seen here before," he said.

An SES spokesman said there were reports of damage to 25 homes, ranging from minor to major roof damage. There were no reports of injuries.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Brett Gage said the wind gusts were likely to have topped 90km/h although it was difficult to be precise because the agency did not have an automatic weather station in Kingston.

"Meteorologically, it was a fast-moving isolated thunderstorm that went through and caused the damage,'' he said.

Mr Gage said there had been a severe thunderstorm warning in place for the lower Southeast Coast, but it was extremely difficult to predict "micro weather'' events such as mini tornadoes as they did not show up on the radar.

The thunderstorms and wind gusts were caused by a cold front that moved across the state yesterday afternoon. The SES is warning similar damage could be caused to other towns as the cold front heads further south. - Courier Mail.





FIRE IN THE SKY: "It Was Larger Than Any Meteor I Have Ever Seen" - Bright "Fireball" Seen In The Skies Over Tennessee And Alabama!

August 05, 2013 - UNITED STATES - There were reports of a bright fireball late on Sunday night and Monday in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. A number of unconfirmed reports were posted on the American Meteor Society website.


File illustration.


"This was so very exciting for me. The colors were beautiful," wrote one user, Liz W., from Nashville, Tenn.

Another person from Oakland, Tenn., wrote that the fireball was "low moving, passed behind cloud bank and glow could be seen through clouds."

"The fire trail was a slender taper going from origin to point within the spacing of nine of the original diameter ... the [colors] were sharp:white core, moss green outside it, traces of blue.," wrote another.

"It almost looked like this fireball was going to make impact," another wrote.

The fireball sighting coincide with the Perseid meteor shower, which starts in mid-July to late August each year. It is unclear if the "fireballs" that people saw in the southeastern U.S. had to do with the Perseids.

"It was larger than any meteor I have ever seen," wrote one person.

On Twitter, at least one person said they heard a "loud boom."

"Widespread reports tonight of bright fireball in the sky over TN, AL some hearing loud boom," wrote NewsBreaker. - TET.



PLANETARY TREMORS: The Nootka Fault Zone - Strong 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Northern Vancouver Island, No Damage Reported!

August 05, 2013 - CANADA - A "moderate" quake shook the northern end of Vancouver Island early Sunday morning, waking many people in their beds as windows rattled and blinds swayed from the tremors.


USGS earthquake location.

Earthquakes Canada said the 5.5 magnitude quake hit at about 6:20 a.m. local time about 25 kilometres west of Nootka Island, off the north coast of Vancouver Island.

There were no reports of any damage or injuries, and no tsunami was expected.

"It woke up many people in communities on northern Vancouver Island," said John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.


Earthquake rattles northern Vancouver Island, no damage reported.


"Because the earthquake was far enough away it wasn't strong enough to knock items off shelves or cause any damage but people certainly noticed five to 10 seconds of shaking where things were swaying back and forth."

Vancouver Island communities that felt the quake included Port Alice, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Tahsis, Sointula and Alert Bay. Residents living in small communities on Nootka Island felt the quake as well.

The quake was caused by ocean plates rubbing together in a region known as the Nootka fault zone, said Cassidy.

"This is one of the seismic hotspots along the west coast," he said.


A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Vancouver Island, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013.

"We tend to get a band of seismicity along the region where those two ocean plates meet, and that's where today's earthquake occurred, it's a boundary between those two ocean plates."

Although the early-morning quake didn't cause any damage or injuries, it was a reminder of seismic activity in the area, said Cassidy.

"We live in a very active region. This is a direct result of plate movement," he said. "We know that energy is being stored for much larger earthquakes in the future...being prepared, knowing what to do, is really important."

Earthquakes Canada said small aftershocks from the quake could be felt through Sunday.


USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

During an earthquake, those inside a home or building are advised to drop down and crawl under strong furniture, cover their head and neck and stay away from windows and shelves with heavy objects.

If unable to go under something strong, crouching or flattening oneself against an interior wall is advised.

Those outdoors during an earthquake are advised to stay away from power lines, buildings and the shore. Those in vehicles are advised to pull over and stay inside. - CTV News.






GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Russia's Shiveluch Volcano Spews Ash Up To 3 Miles!

August 05, 2013 - RUSSIA - Russia's northernmost active volcano churned out ash to a height of up to five kilometers (three miles) in the country's Far East, local Emergencies Ministry’s department reported on Monday.



Shiveluch. © RIA Novosti. Alexei Kudenko

The 3,283-meter (10,771 feet) Shiveluch volcano increased activity in May 2009 and has been periodically spewing ash from three to ten kilometers.

“The cloud of ash moved in the eastern direction from the volcano having bypassed residential areas at the distance of some 50 kilometers [31 miles],” the department said in a statement.

Although the current eruption poses no immediate threat to nearby settlements, the ensuing ash fallouts could be hazardous to health and the environment.

The clouds of volcanic ash could also pose threat to air traffic because the tiny particles cause problems with aircraft engine turbines.

There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka and up to 30 of them are active. - RIA.





WAR DRUMS: Strategic Move - Russian Warships Arrive In Cuba On Official Visit!

August 05, 2013 - CUBA - A Russian naval task force, led by the Moskva missile cruiser, arrived Saturday on a visit to the Cuban port of Havana, Latin American media reported.


Moskva missile cruiser (archive).  © RIA Novosti. Sergey Petrosyan


A spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet said Friday the visit would last five days.

The Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet
, is accompanied by Udaloy-class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov from the Northern Fleet and the Ivan Bubnov tanker.

During the visit, the ships will be open for public access and their crews will participate in a number of cultural and sports events, the spokesman, Capt. 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev, said.

Western military experts say the visit signals Russia’s intention to rekindle military ties with its former Communist ally in the Caribbean.

Moscow had a military presence in Cuba for almost four decades after the Cuban crisis, maintaining an electronic listening post at Lourdes, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Havana, to monitor US military activity and communications.

Bilateral military cooperation ended abruptly after the surprise closure of Lourdes facility in 2001.

In recent years, however, Russia has moved to revitalize ties with Cuba, as well as other Latin American states.


The Moskva is the flag ship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.


As part of this effort Moscow has written off most of Havana’s Soviet-era debt, estimated at about $30 billion, and denounced the US trade embargo against Cuba.

During his visit to Cuba in April, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, met with Cuban Defense Ministry officials and reiterated that Russia and Cuba remain defense partners.

Some Russian military sources have previously indicated that if a political decision is made Moscow could resume operations at the Lourdes facility and also use airbases in Cuba for refueling of strategic aircraft. - RIA.



TERMINATOR NOW: Rise Of The Machines - Kirobo, World's First Talking Robot Launched Successfully By Japan Into Space!

August 05, 2013 - JAPAN - Japan launched the world's first talking humanoid 'robot astronaut' successfully into space aboard a Japanese cargo ship August 3, to serve as a companion to the first Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will arrive in November.


Japan has launched the world’s first talking humanoid robot “astronaut” toward the International Space Station.
(Photo : Reuters)


The humanoid robot astronaut dubbed 'Kirobo' was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at 3.48 p.m. EDT from the Tanegashima Space Center in Southern Japan. The knee high talking robot was blasted off into space along with 3.5 tons of supplies and equipment for the crew of the space station.

With red boots and a black and white body, the first robot astronaut 'Kirobo' derives its name from the Japanese words 'hope' and 'robot'. The Japanese research laboratory module aboard ISS is called 'Kibo' so kirobo is an amalgamation of kibo and robot, reports NBC News.

Kirobo was blasted off in to space inside a Japanese unmanned HTV-4 cargo vessel called Kounotori, atop Japan's H-IIB Launch Vehicle in the early hours of Sunday morning. The spacecraft is expected to arrive at the space station on August 9.

The childlike robot Kirobo that was inspired by the 'Astro Boy', an animation character, is 13.4 inches tall and weighs two pounds. It will spend 18 months aboard ISS. This robot is designed to serve as a companion and will communicate with the other robots on Earth. It can communicate in Japanese and will store a record of all the conversations with the astronaut Wakata, who will take over as ISS commander in November. It will also relay messages from the control room to the astronaut.


Kirobo, World's First Talking Robot Launched Successfully by Japan into Space (Photo : Reuters)

The other robot on Earth is Kirobo's twin, Mirata, who will monitor any problem or malfunction the pair encounter during their mission in space. Both the robots are equipped with voice and face recognition technology. They are also fitted with cameras, language processor and software that recognizes emotions.

"Kirobo will remember Mr Wakata's face so it can recognise him when they reunite up in space. I wish for this robot to function as a mediator between a person and machine, or a person and the Internet, and sometimes even between people," said the robot's designer, Tomotaka Takahashi, University of Tokyo.

WATCH: First talking humanoid robot launched into space.




Kirobo's launch was broadcast live on August 3.

The major challenge the creators faced while designing the talking robot was to make it compatible with space. In order to ensure Kirobo's reliability, several tests were conducted over nine months. Some of which included the robot's ability to communicate in low gravity environment, gravity test, compatibility of kirobo's power system with the ISS power system and its ability move in a parabolic flight test, reports the iDigital Times. - Science World Report.




PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake In The Sea Of Okhotsk Rattles The Russian Countryside!

August 05, 2013 - RUSSIA - Sunday in Russia, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred, which rattled the remote countryside. It happened at 10:56 UTC, at 46.919°N 145.291°E and a depth of 379.4 km (235.7 mi).


USGS earthquake location.

The three closest cities to the quake’s epicenter were Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Korsakov, and Dolininsk. Each was 194 km (121 mi) away from the epicenter, so were largely unaffected by the earthquake.

The moderate earthquake’s epicenter places it in the seismotectonically active area of the Kuri-Kamchatka arc. It extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan, along the Kuril Islands  and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula to its intersection with the Aleutian arc near the Commander Islands, Russia.

This is the area where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk microplate, part of the larger North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, which are actually active volcanoes located along the entire arc, and the deep offshore Kuril-Kamchatka trench.

The central section of the arc is comprised of an oceanic island arc system. This differs from the continental arc systems of the northern and southern sections.

Oblique convergence in the southern Kuril arc results in the partitioning of stresses into both trench-normal thrust earthquakes and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes, as well as the westward movement of the Kuril forearc.


USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.


This westward migration of the Kuril forearc currently results in collision between the Kuril arc in the north and the Japan arc in the south, resulting in the deformation and uplift of the Hidaka Mountains in central Hokkaido.
The Kuril-Kamchatka arc is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the subduction zone interface between the Pacific and North America plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km.

At greater depths, Kuril-Kamchatka arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific plate and can reach depths of approximately 650 km.

Large (Magnitude greater than 7) earthquakes have frequently occurred in this region over the past century. Seven great earthquakes (M8.3 or larger) since 1900 have also occurred along the arc, with mechanisms that include interplate thrust faulting, and intraplate faulting.

Damaging tsunamis followed several of the large interplate megathrust earthquakes. These events include the February 3, 1923 M8.4 Kamchatka, the November 6,1958 M8.4 Etorofu, and the September 25, 2003 M8.3 Hokkaido earthquakes.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.



A large M8.5 megathrust earthquake occurred on October 13, 1963 off the coast of Urup, an island along the southern Kuril arc, which generated a large tsunami in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk, and caused run-up wave heights of up to 4-5 m along the Kuril arc.

The largest megathrust earthquake to occur along the entire Kurile-Kamchatka arc in the 20th century was the November 4, 1952 M9.0 event. This earthquake was followed by a devastating tsunami with run-up wave heights as high as 12 m along the coast of Paramushir, a small island immediately south of Kamchatka, causing significant damage to the city of Severo-Kurilsk.

A large (M8.3) intraplate event on October 4,1994,occurred within the subducted oceanic lithosphere off the coast of Shikotan Island causing intense ground shaking, landslides, and a tsunami with run-up heights of up to 10 m on the island.

The most recent megathrust earthquake in the region was the November 15, 2006 M8.3 Kuril Island event. It was located in the central section of the arc.

Prior to this rupture, this part of the subduction zone had been recognized as a seismic gap spanning from the northeastern end of the 1963 rupture zone to the southwestern end of the 1952 rupture.

A great (M8.1) normal faulting earthquake two months after the 2006 event occurred on January 13, 2007 in the adjacent outer rise region of the Pacific plate. Some scientists have theorized that the 2007 event may have been caused by the stresses generated from the 2006 earthquake.

Sunday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake pales in comparison to some of these examples of earthquakes of larger magnitude, but it rattled windows of houses located in the remote countryside, and serves as the latest example that a large earthquake can occur at any time in this highly seismic region of Russia. - Guardian Express.