Thursday, March 31, 2016

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Hits Off Japan Coast - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

March 31, 2016 - JAPAN - A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck south west Japan on Friday (Apr 1), 56 kilometres from Shingu city, according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake hit at a depth of 10 km just before midday local time and was felt throughout Wakayama prefecture.

Local media reported the quake initially at magnitude 6.1 with NHK saying Tokaido Shinkansen services were suspended temporarily as a precaution.

No tsunami alert was issued. Although there may be slight sea-level changes in coastal regions, no damage was expected, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.



USGS shakemap intensity.

Earthquakes are common throughout Japan; more than 750 have been registered in the past year.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences around 20 percent of the world's most powerful earthquakes.

But rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even powerful tremors frequently do little damage.

A massive undersea quake that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan's northeast coast, leaving 18,500 people dead or missing, and sending several reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in the worst atomic accident in a generation. - Channel News Asia.


Seismotectonics of Japan and Vicinity

The North America plate, Pacific plate, Philippine Sea plate, and Eurasia plate all influence the tectonic setting of Japan, Taiwan, and the surrounding area. Some authors divide the edges of these plates into several microplates that together take up the overall relative motions between the larger tectonic blocks, including the Okhotsk microplate in northern Japan, the Okinawa microplate in southern Japan, the Yangzee microplate in the area of the East China Sea, and the Amur microplate in the area of the Sea of Japan.

The seafloor expression of the boundary between the Pacific and North America plates lies 300 km off the east coasts of Hokkaido and Honshu at the Kuril-Kamchatka and Japan trenches. The subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the North America plate, at rates of 83-90 mm/yr, generates abundant seismicity, predominantly as a result of interplate slip along the interface between the plates. The 1958 M 8.4 Etorofu, 1963 M 8.6 Kuril, 2003 M 8.3 Tokachi-Oki, and the 2011 M 9.0 Tohoku earthquakes all exemplify such megathrust seismicity. The 1933 M 8.4 Sanriku-Oki earthquake and the 1994 M 8.3 Shikotan earthquake are examples of intraplate seismicity, caused by deformation within the lithosphere of the subducting Pacific plate (Sanriku-Oki) and of the overriding North America plate (Shikotan), respectively.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.


At the southern terminus of the Japan Trench the intersection of the Pacific, North America, and Philippine Sea plates forms the Boso Triple Junction, the only example of a trench-trench-trench intersection in the world. South of the triple junction the Pacific plate subducts beneath the Philippine Sea plate at the Izu-Ogasawara trench, at rates of 45-56 mm/yr. This margin is noteworthy because of the steep dip of the subducting Pacific plate (70° or greater below depths of 50 km depth), and because of its heterogeneous seismicity; few earthquakes above M 7 occur at shallow depths, yet many occur below 400 km. The lack of large shallow megathrust earthquakes may be a result of weak coupling at the plate interface, or simply a reflection of an incomplete earthquake catalog with respect to the length of typical seismic cycles.

The northernmost section of the Philippine Sea plate shares a 350 km boundary with the North America plate that runs approximately east-west from the Boso Triple Junction towards the Izu Peninsula. This short boundary is dominated by the subduction of the Philippine Sea plate beneath Japan along the Sagami Trough, but also includes small sections of transform motion.

The subduction of the Philippine Sea plate under the Eurasia plate begins at the Suruga Trough, immediately southwest of the Izu peninsula. In the northern Tōkai, Tonankai and Nankai sections of this subduction zone, historical data indicate M 8+ earthquake recurrence intervals of 100-150 years. The Tonankai and Nankai sections last ruptured in M 8.1 earthquakes in 1944 and 1946, respectively, while the Tōkai section last broke in 1854. In the 1980's studies began to forecast the imminence of a large earthquake in the Tōkai region, and warned of its potential impact on the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama (the two largest cities in Japan); to date, the expected event has not occurred.

The boundary between the Philippine Sea and Eurasia plates continues south and southwestwards from the Suruga Trough, extending 2000 km along the Nankai and Ryukyu trenches before reaching the island of Taiwan. Along the Ryukyu Trench, the Philippine Sea plate exhibits trench normal subduction at rates increasing from 48 mm/yr in the northeast to 65 mm/yr in the southwest. Convergence and the associated back-arc deformation west of the oceanic trench creates the Ryukyu Islands and the Okinawa Trough. The largest historic event observed along this subduction zone was the M 8.1 Kikai Island earthquake in 1911.

In the vicinity of Taiwan the structure of the Philippine Sea: Eurasia plate boundary and the associated pattern of seismicity becomes more complex. 400 km east of Taiwan a clockwise rotation in the trend of the margin (from NE-SW to E-W), paired with an increase in subduction obliquity creates a section of the plate boundary that exhibits dextral transform and oblique thrusting motions. South of Taiwan the polarity of subduction flips; the Eurasia plate subducts beneath the Philippine Sea plate. Debate surrounds contrasting models of the plate boundary position between the zones of oppositely verging subduction, and the boundary's relation to patterns of seismicity. Many studies propose that crustal thickening causes the majority of regional seismicity, while others attribute seismicity to deformation associated with subduction. Another resolution proposes a tear in the Philippine Sea plate and a complex assortment of subduction, transform, and collisional motion. All the models concede that seismicity around the island of Taiwan is anomalously shallow, with few earthquakes deeper than 70km.

While there are no instances of an earthquake Magnitude greater than 8 in the modern record, Taiwan and its surrounding region have experienced eight Magnitude greater than 7.5 events between 1900 and 2014. The dominance of shallow Magnitude less than 8 earthquakes suggests fairly weak plate boundary coupling, with most earthquakes caused by internal plate deformation. The 1935 M 7.1 Hsinchu-Taichung earthquake and the 1999 M 7.6 Chi-Chi Earthquake both exemplify the shallow continental crust thrust faulting that dominates regional seismicity across the island. A major tectonic feature of the island is the Longitudinal Valley Fault, which ruptures frequently in small, shallow earthquakes. In 1951, the Longitudinal Valley Fault hosted twelve Magnitude greater than or equal to 6 events known as the Hualien-Taitung earthquake sequence.

Large earthquakes in the vicinity of Japan and Taiwan have been both destructive and deadly. The regions high population density makes shallow earthquakes especially dangerous. Since 1900 there have been 13 earthquakes (9 in Japan, 4 in Taiwan) that have each caused over 1000 fatalities, leading to a total of nearly 200,000 earthquake related deaths. In January 1995 an earthquake that ruptured a southern branch of the Japan Median Tectonic Line near the city of Kobe (population 1.5 million) killed over 5000 people. The 1923 Kanto earthquake shook both Yokohama (population 500,000, at that time) and Tokyo (population 2.1 million), killing 142,000 people. The earthquake also started fires that burned down 90% of the buildings in Yokohama and 40% of the buildings in Tokyo. Most recently, the M9.0 Tohoku earthquake, which ruptured a 400 km stretch of the subduction zone plate boundary east of Honshu, and the tsunami it generated caused over 20,000 fatalities.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.






FIRE IN THE SKY: The Latest Fireball Sightings - Disintegrating Fireballs Explode Over Manitoba, Canada And Catalonia, Spain; Strange Object Spotted Falling From The Sky Over South West England; And Rare Meteorite Fragments Discovered From March Fireball In Stubenberg, Germany! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

© Via YouTube/Cloud
March 31, 2016 - SPACE - The following constitutes several of the latest reports of fireballs, seen in the skies, across the globe.


Disintegrating fireballs explode over Manitoba, Canada and Catalonia, Spain

Two bright fireballs were recorded in Canada and Spain end of March 2016.The Spanish bolide slowly disintegrated in the sky of Aragón and Catalonia on March 24th, 2016 at 0h47m20s UTC. The Canadian space rock was captured flying through the night sky of Churchill, Manitoba. Awesome!

This wonderful slow-moving fireball overflew Aragón and Catalonia on March 24th, 2016 at 0h47m20s UTC and was recorded by cameras at the Folgueroles AAO-CSIC-IEEC station (Pep Pujols/J.M.Trigo).

WATCH: The fireball experienced periodic changes in its luminosity due to the fast spinning of the meteoroid when it penetrated Earth's atmosphere.



Fireball filmed in the sky of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada on March 26, 2016.

WATCH: There is no comment on the video. But the video of this exploding fireball is awesome.



Did you hear any booms or weird noises related to these two sky events?

- Strange Sounds.


Strange object spotted falling from the sky over South West England

These photos were captured by Gudrun Limbrick this evening.
© Gudrun Limbrick

People have been coming up with possible explanations including a meteorite, plane entrails or a strange cloud. It was seen from all over North Devon including in Combe Martin and Braunton.

Gudrun said: "I live in Woolacombe and popped my head out the door to have a look at the post-sunset sky about 8pm. I watched it for about 20 minutes as it moved down the sky and changed shape."

Do you think you know what the object might be? If so get in touch by emailing fran@northdevonjournal.co.uk - North Devon Journal.



Rare meteorite fragments discovered from March fireball in Stubenberg, Germany

Experts from Munster said they are 'delighted' to recover several fragments identified as being of the 'LL Chondritenklasse' (LL chondrite) class of meteorite -
mostly stone with very little metal inside. This image shows how the meteorite looks under the polarising microscope

Scientists have discovered fragments from an extremely rare meteorite strike that took place above Germany earlier this month.

Experts from Munster said they are 'delighted' to recover several fragments identified as being of the 'LL Chondritenklasse' (LL chondrite) class of meteorite - mostly stone with very little metal inside.

The latest fragments, which struck the earth in the municipality of Stubenberg in Bavaria, are already being studied excitedly by experts, who anticipate more fragments will still turn up.

The fireball was spotted over Bavaria on 6 March.


The fireball was spotted over Bavaria on 6 March (pictured)
Meteorite expert Professor Dr Addi Bischoff from the Institute for Planetary Studies at the University of Munster (WWU) said: 'Alert sky watchers spotted the meteorites burning into the atmosphere on 6 March.

'By analysing images of the entry, we were able to locate the impact point and find fragments on the ground, in total weighing 40g.

'What we have found so far from studying the fragments indicates that the main body of the meteorite had been struck several times by other celestial objects.

'The fragment that came into our atmosphere had probably broken off from the main body of the meteorite after one of these collisions.

'The main body of the asteroid is one of hundreds of thousands of asteroids travelling on a route between Mars and Jupiter.'

Although hundreds of meteorites come into the Earth's atmosphere to create shooting stars, most of these burn up before they get anywhere near the ground.

Very occasionally, however, meteorites make it all the way to the ground.


By analysing images of the entry, researchers were able to locate the impact point and find fragments on the ground, in total weighing 40g (pictured centre)


In Germany, experts say a meteorite actually strikes the ground only once every eight years or so, with the last time happening at Braunschweig - also known as Brunswick - in 2013 and before that at Neuschwanstein in 2002.

Dr Bischoff said strikes were extremely rare in Germany and added: 'In the last seven years, there has been one striking the ground on average every eight years.'

And he added that none of these were spectacular as the one which struck Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013 that left hundreds of people injured with its explosive impact.

It is likely that the fragment may also be worth a substantial amount of money.

Earlier this week it was announced that a collection of some of the largest chunks of meteorite to have been found on the Earth to go on sale at auction for an estimated £3.4 million.

Among the 83 space rocks is the only meteoroid that has killed and a chunk of the fireball which tore through the skies over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013, hospitalising 112 people.

Some of the scorched chunks of iron and stone look primeval in their appearance while others have an almost jewel-like beauty despite their fiery descent through the atmosphere. - Daily Mail.








OMEN: Plagues & Pestilences - Two-Headed Calf Born Near Blyth, Canada And Cow Born With Two Heads In Albania?!

The 2 headed calf born on local beef farmer Les Cladwell's farm, examined at the University of Guelph.

March 31, 2016 - EARTH - A two-headed baby cow has been born in a Albanian village leaving hundreds of villagers baffled. Meanwhile, a cow in Blyth, Canada gave birth to a calf with two heads.

Two-headed calf born near Blyth, Canada

They say two heads are better than one.

But that wasn't the case when local beef farmer Les Caldwell's cow gave birth to a two-headed calf.

Caldwell says he was shocked by the discovery, and after consulting a local vet, determined that the best course of action was to euthanize the animal, who couldn't even stand.

"It couldn't stand or function properly, so the most humane thing to do, unfortunately, was put it down. I don't want to see an animal, or anything for that matter, suffer," says Caldwell.

After the animal was euthanized, it was sent to the University of Guelph, and after a post mortem, it was determined that the rest of the animal seemed completely normal after the head. It had four legs, a tail, and two ears. However, the animal was born with four eyes, two noses, two esophagus and even two separate brains.

This type of occurrence is rare, with some studies suggesting that Caldwell would have had a better chance of winning the lottery 14 times. Caldwell says a friend mentioned this to him, and he thought maybe it was a sign.

"I thought I maybe should grab some lottery tickets if that's the case! If it is as rare as they suggest, maybe I should try my luck," he says.

Those studies also suggest it was more likely to be struck by lightning 500 times, or be eaten by a shark 35 times, saying this type of birth irregularity is very rare, particularly in North America. - BBN.



Cow born with two heads in Albania

DOUBLE: The calf born in Albania has two heads, two noses, two sets of eyes and two mouths.  © CEN

A two-headed baby cow has been born in a village leaving hundreds of villagers baffled.

The calf, who has yet to be named, left locals stunned after it was cut out of its mother's stomach at a farm in the village of Bulo in southern Albania's Gjirokaster County.

Because of the calf's size and deformity, the mother cow died in labour.

And when the owner cut open her stomach he was dumbfounded to find the two-headed calf looking up at him.

The unusual calf has two heads, two noses, two sets of eyes and two mouths.


BAD OMEN: Some residents believe it is a warning of 'all the evils in the world' © CEN


Villagers say they have never seen anything like it and cannot begin to explain how it happened.

But local media has speculated that it could be the result of poor nutrition or genetically modified foods.

The birth follows that of another two-headed calf born in Peru last year.

In August 2015, villagers in the remote north-western village of Vista Alegre were left divided over the birth of the animal, with some seeing it as bringing good luck, and others saying it was a bad omen.

Some believed that the calf, born in the north west Albania, had been sent by God as a warning about all the evils in the world.

But others believed it was a mythical birth or that the cow must may have gone through a swamp when she was in season.

The Albanian calf is still alive and is currently being looked after by its owners who are feeding it with milk from a bottle. - Star.





ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Professional Surfer Loses Most Of His Thigh In Shark Attack At Kiama, Australia?! [VIDEO]

File photo.
March 31, 2016 - AUSTRALIA - A professional surfer was mauled by a shark off the Australian east coast on Wednesday evening, officials said.

Brett Connellan, 22, was flown by helicopter to Sydney's St. George Hospital in serious condition after he was attacked 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the south off a beach near Kiama, a police statement said.

He sustained injuries to a thigh and a hand in the attack off Bombo Beach at 7 p.m. and was helped 100 meters (yards) to shore by a fellow surfer, Joel Trist, police said.


Photo taken shows a surfer in the ocean at Bondi Beach in Sydney.(Photo: Peter Parks, AFP/Getty Images)

Trist told reporters on Thursday he paddled as fast as he could toward his friend when he heard him scream. The shark had vanished before Trist covered the 50 meters (yards).

"I said to him: 'What's it like?' and he said: 'It's not good.' And at that point I knew something was horribly wrong," Trist said.

Trist said he dragged his friend on to Trist's board and the pair caught a wave to shore.




Ambulance Service spokesman Terry Morrow said two beachgoers who were off-duty nurses saved Connellan's life by applying a tourniquet made from a surfboard leg rope to his upper thigh before paramedics reached the scene.

"He had lost a large proportion of his left thigh, and the quad muscle was torn away right down to the bone," Terry Morrow told the Illawarra Mercury newspaper.


WATCH: Pro surfer mauled by shark in Australia.




"He could've bled to death before we arrived on scene. He was very lucky the members of the public were there and acted as they did," Morrow said.

Connellan did not see the shark. Experts are examining his wounds to determine its size and species. - USA Today.




GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Truck Swallowed By Massive Sinkhole In Barranquilla, Colombia - Incredible Footage Shows Gaping Chasm In City Centre Road! [VIDEO]

Emergency services work to pull the truck free. © CEN
March 31, 2016 - COLOMBIA - This wagon was swallowed up as a road gave way in the middle of a city centre as this astonishing mobile phone clip shows.

The large truck was sucked backwards into the sinkhole as its driver went along a busy road.

According to reports from WhatsApp users, the driver was caught completely by surprise when suddenly the highway gave way and he ended up with the rear end of his vehicle disappearing into a giant hole.


 The driver was unhurt and walked away from the crash. © CEN

The video show the large green truck half submerged in the hole that is in the cement road, surrounded by rubble. The driver's cab luckily stayed intact and the driver, although in shock, was unhurt.

The driver said: "The road caved in as I was turning round the corner, I was bumped around but nothing serious."

The road has been closed as emergency services work to clear the site.

When asked what the owner of the truck had said the driver responded that he seemed unconcerned about the driver and was mainly worried about the money.

He said: "He is waiting for news from the insurance people."

The incident happened in the city of Barranquilla, in the northern Colombia.


WATCH: Truck swallowed by huge sinkhole.




- Mirror.







EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - Extreme Weather, Mass Animal Die-Offs And Meteor Fireballs In March 2016! [VIDEO]

© YouTube / Hawkkey Davis (screen capture)

March 31, 2016 - EARTH - Sea life washing up dead - Earth opening up to swallow rivers and vehicles - Record rainfall in Peru, flooding in Rio de Janeiro - Loud booms of unknown origin shaking homes - Strongest earthquake so far in 2016 hits Indonesia - Meteors lighting up the night sky - Yet another '1-in-1,000-years' rain event flooding central and southern US - Heavy snow in Mexico - A year's worth of rain in one day flooding Persian Gulf states...

This series does not mean the world is ending! These are videos showing a series of extreme weather events that are leading to bigger Earth Changes. If you're following the series, you're seeing the signs. It's much more than one video...


WATCH: Monumental Earth Changes in March, 2016.




- Hawkkey Davis.










EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Strong El Nino Influencing Our Weather Is Now Rapidly Weakening - CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY What Will Happen Next?!

© NASA Earth Observatory

March 31, 2016 - EARTH - The strong El Nino that has influenced our weather for much of the winter is now rapidly weakening.  But there is considerable uncertainty what will happen next: will next year be a neutral (La Nada) or La Nina period?

Lets start by look at the sea surface temperature anomalies (differencea from normal) for a few areas in the tropical Pacific.  The Nino3.4 area is often cited, and as you can see, this temperature anomaly has dropped from 3 to 1.5 C...a big drop.  Even more dramatic is the decline in the temperature of the Nino1+2 area near the coast.




Even more dramatic, is the change in heat content of the upper ocean in the central and eastern tropical Pacific (see below),  from well above normal to BELOW normal.



You can visualize this change by looking at vertical cross sections through the upper tropical Pacific ocean at several times during the past few months.  The red area...a layer of warm water near the surface has greatly weakened and thinned.



So what will happen next winter?  This is a bad time to ask the question, since the skill of our models, both dynamical (physics-based) and statistical, are poor during the early early to mid spring.  Virtually all show a weakening of the strong El Nino of this winter, but some show a weak El Nino continuing, some showing near neutral conditions, and a few even suggesting a La Nina (cooler than normal waters).




In short, there is large uncertainty in our predictions for next winter and we will have to wait until June or July to have a better idea. - Cliff Mass Weather Blog.








ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Elephant Kills Mahout In Kerala, India?!

The elephant that was chained by local people after it killed its mahout at Pulamanthole on Tuesday.

March 31, 2016 - INDIA - A few injured, property and vehicles damaged

An elephant ran amok during a temple festival at Pulamanthole on Tuesday, killing its mahout, injuring a few others and destroying property and vehicles.

The elephant's mahout, P.V. Anil from Pathanamthitta, was killed when he attempted to control the tusker. The elephant had been brought for the festival of Paloor Alanchery Bhagavati Temple.

The elephant ran along the road for about three kms and entered the Government Higher Secondary School compound, panicking the children who were taking exams.

The children were shifted to higher floors of the school building.

Local people later chained the elephant to a nearby plot. - The Hindu.