(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Strong earthquake strikes Indonesia; 2 dead
(CNN)Two people were killed and seven others were injured when a strong earthquake hit Indonesia late Friday, authorities said.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
(CNN)Two people were killed and seven others were injured when a strong earthquake hit Indonesia late Friday, authorities said.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)
There is no natural disaster sneakier than an earthquake. Hurricanes can be predicted and tracked weeks in advance, and even tornados, monsoons and blizzards at least have seasons. But earthquakes strike entirely without warning. Now, however, a new study suggests that we may want to brace for a surge of quakes in the year ahead, and the reason for the danger is an unlikely one: the rotation of the Earth has slowed slightly.
While accurately forecasting earthquakes is impossible, a backward look through the seismic record allows geologists to detect some distinct patterns. In the new study — which was presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, in Seattle, and published in Geophysical Research Letters — geologists Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana, tracked the incidence of magnitude 7 or greater earthquakes worldwide since 1900. While in most years there is an average of just 15 such major shake-ups — already more than enough — there have been evenly spaced intervals in the past 117 years in which the annual total jumped to between 25 and 30.
A little more than a century on a planet that is more than 4 billion years old is not exactly a representative time sample, but Bilham and Bendick noticed something else about these volatile, quake-prone periods. They seem to follow periodic slowdowns in the speed of the Earth’s rotation. Our solid planet is a lot less solid than it seems, and that’s true not just of its oceans and air, but of its outer core, which is about 1,200 mi. (2,200 km) thick and is composed mostly of liquid iron and nickel. That molten ooze tends to slosh about, following a pattern that oscillates more or less predictably over time, much the way — on a vastly smaller and more fleeting scale — water sloshing in a bucket will move back and forth in a repeating cycle.
Such motion deep inside the Earth slightly changes the planet’s rate of spin, adding to or subtracting from the 24-hour day by about a millisecond — a change that is regularly recorded by atomic clocks. When a slowdown occurs, the molten core continues to strain outward, obeying Newton’s fundamental law that objects in motion will try as hard as they can to remain in motion.
That outward pressure slowly propagates through the rocks and plates and faults that lie above it. Bilham and Bendick calculate that it takes five to six years for the energy sent out by the core to radiate to the upper layers of the planet where quakes occur, meaning that after the atomic clock notices a slowdown you’ve got five to six years before you’d better buckle up.
The last such time the planet slowed was in 2011, and recent events suggest a troubling pattern again playing out: the magnitude 7.1 quake that struck Mexico City on Sept. 19; the 7.3 event on the Iran-Iraq border on Nov. 12; and the 7.0 off New Caledonia on Nov. 19.
Not only does the new study suggest when there could be an uptick in quakes, it also points to where: near the equator, within a latitude of 30º north or south. It makes sense that this would be the danger zone because of any given point along the equator — the planet’s widest point — rotates up to 1,000 mph (1,600 k/h) faster than a point closer to the poles, so a slowdown in the overall spin would be more powerful along that midline. The Iran-Iraq quake occurred at about 33º north latitude, exceeding that cartographic limit, but not by much.
None of this says that 2018 will definitely be a more geologically unstable year, and it certainly doesn’t pinpoint where any possible quaking will occur. It does say that the maddeningly imprecise science of earthquake prediction has at least gotten a tiny bit more precise. For disasters with such deadly stakes, even that small improvement makes a difference.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)
Three people sustained minor injuries following a 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region at 6:34 a.m. Saturday.
The quake caused power failure and cracks in houses in a number of localities in Nyingchi City, according to the regional seismological bureau.
The epicenter was detected at 29.75 degrees north latitude and 95.02 degrees east longitude, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. The quake struck at a depth of about 10 km.
The quake was felt strongly in several counties in Nyingchi. As of 6 p.m., 227 aftershocks had been detected, including one with a magnitude of 5or higher.
Basang Cering, Party chief in Zhaxigang Village of Lunang Township, told Xinhua that he could not stand still in his house when the quake struck. Six houses in his village were damaged by the jolt.
Sources with the regional power grid said the power grids of both Tibet and Nyingchi are operating normally, though it had launched an emergency response mechanism.
The China Seismological Bureau has launched a third-degree emergency response mechanism and held a teleconference to monitor an investigation into the situation. A team of 32 experts has been sent to the quake zone.
The bureau observed that the highest seismic intensity of the quake affected an area of 500 square meters, which is sparsely populated.
The tremors triggered falling rocks, blocking a highway linking Nyingchi’s city proper with Tangmai, one of the quake-hit townships. Armed police transport troops are clearing the road.
The Fire Department of the Ministry of Public Security said fire fighters from Nyingchi are ready in Tangmai Township. Another team of rescuers will take a helicopter to Gyalha village in the epicenter since the road to the village was blocked by rocks.
The Ministry of Transport has also dispatched staff to investigate the safety condition of bridges in the quake-hit area.
The Tibet subsidiaries of Chinese telecom providers China Mobile and China Tower said that their networks are operating normally. But the Tibet branch of China Telecom reported the disruption of an optical cable for broadband service in Pome and Zayul counties.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook Iraq on Sunday, authorities said, without causing any casualties or major damage in the country or in neighboring Iran and Turkey where it was also felt.
The temblor was centred 32 kilometres southwest of Halabja, near the northeastern border with Iran, the US Geological Survey said.
It struck the mountainous area of Sulaimaniyah province at 9:18 pm (local time) at a depth of 33.9 kilometres (21 miles), the monitor said.
It was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and sometimes for longer in other provinces of Iraq, AFP journalists said.
In the province of Sulaimaniyah, located in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, residents ran out onto the streets at the time of the quake and some minor property damage was recorded, an AFP reporter said.
In Iran, the ISNA news agency said that the earthquake was felt in several cities in the west of the country including Tabriz.
In southeastern Turkey, the earthquake was felt “from Malatya to Van”, an AFP correspondent said. In the town of Diyarbakir, residents also left their homes before returning.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FORBES SCIENCE)
Beneath the beautiful Yellowstone National Park lies a supervolcano, a hidden a force of nature that has the potential to blanket the United States in ash and send the world into a volcanic winter.
While scientists have studied Yellowstone’s supervolcano extensively, the fact of the matter is there’s not much we can do about it if/when the supervolcano erupts again. Albeit, that hasn’t stopped NASA from trying to engineer a solution to the next supervolcano eruption.
What scientists have relied upon is that when Yellowstone’s supervolcano begins to rumble and its magma chambers begin to fill, we would have centuries to prepare for the devastating eruption. However, recent studies find that the speed at which the volcano can fill its magma chamber and erupt is on the order of a few decades. That means Yellowstone supervolcano could go from its usual activity like today to erupting in 2030’s.
Unraveling Yellowstone’s Past Eruptions
How did scientists unravel the timing of the latest Yellowstone supervolcano eruption? As the magma chambers filled, portions of the magma were cool enough to solidify into rock. While they solidified or lithified, the minerals grew over time, creating bands of progressively younger mineral around older mineral.
Scientists inspected the bands of these minerals and what they found is the last few bands of mineral formation recorded a sudden spike in temperature on the order of decades before mineral lithification stopped. Hence, the rapid increase in temperature on the order of decades represents the time required for a sudden injection of magma and release through an eruption.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)
You came to Puerto Rico for the golden sand and sun—gold, you will recall, was also the basis of our first colonizers’ initial attraction. For the endless piña coladas and rum-spiked mysteries. For the colonial charm and quaint, humble lifestyle. Poverty looks so alluring in the Caribbean, what with the bright colors, crystal-clear waters and the backdrop of lush greens—besides, it’s only for a week. Your friends say it’s the hottest Spring Break spot; the newspapers say it’s a debt-ridden disaster; your parents say it’s dangerous and that the water is undrinkable; and the brochures say it’s a (tax) haven, an absolute paradise. So here you are, in your bathing suit and sarong, mojito in hand, ready to focus on your one task for the week: getting a tan.
But it turns out that the sun isn’t nailed onto the sky, and it doesn’t run on one-million 100-watt light bulbs that never fail. The tides rise and the swells are ferocious. Coconuts, palm trees and branches are potential projectiles. And a hurricane is heading straight for your worry-free fantasy.
So you try to catch a flight out of this paradise-turned-inferno, because a hurricane was not on your must-see itinerary. Instead, JetBlue takes you to a hurricane shelter in San Juan, a hot and humid coliseum, where your beach chair is replaced by a cot; your piña colada by a Walgreens water bottle; your dream, by our reality.
The power was out in my house as I imagined the scenario above, which had taken place the day before, right before Irma’s arrival. After Irma’s passing the next morning there were more than a million households without power. The Electric Power Authority (AEE) was predicting the outages would last two to four months, and almost 80,000 households had lost water service as well. Over 6,200 people were in shelters on the northeastern side of the island, and Puerto Rico’s agricultural industry had suffered $30.4 million in losses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Governor Ricardo Rosselló were still evaluating infrastructural and residential damages. And now a powerful new storm was heading our way: María.
Puerto Rico is no stranger to crisis. Before Irma’s rampage through the archipelago, Puerto Rico was already in the midst of one of the most devastating financial and socio-political crises in its recent history, with an unaudited $74 billion debt under its belt, $49 billion in pension obligations, and several decades’ worth of illegal bond issuances and trading related to its status as an overly-advertised tax haven. Neoliberal policies such as draconian budget cuts and extreme austerity measures had already rendered life in Puerto Rico quite precarious. And the whole thing was being overseen and managed simultaneously by Governor Rosselló, an unelected and antidemocratic Fiscal Control Board, and judge Laura Taylor Swain, all of whom were going back and forth on the country’s fiscal management and debt restructuring processes.
But even as Hurricane Irma headed straight towards it, for many outside of the country, Puerto Rico is a mere blip on CNN’s news ticker, an enchanting US-owned island on a tourist brochure, that exotic place where the music video for “Despacito” was filmed (and made all the better by Justin Bieber), a pebble sinking between an ocean and a sea that have seen too much.
But Irma’s passing and aftermath have once again brought to light Puerto Rico’s primordial conundrum: colonialism.
Puerto Rico has been a US colony (the US prefers the euphemistic designations of “commonwealth”, “unincorporated territory” and “free associated state”) for 199 years, a relationship that has led to the country’s being trapped in a steep downward spiral. The current fiscal and socio-political crisis is only one of the side effects of this relationship.
Hurricane Irma’s passing underscored the damage done by the neoliberal austerity measures imposed by the Fiscal Control Board and the crimes committed by corporations taking advantage of Puerto Rico’s colonial status. For starters, as a result of the massive closure of public schools, only 329 schools across the island were available as hurricane shelters compared with the 372 available during Hurricane Bertha’s passing in 2014.
Puerto Rico’s infrastructure also finds itself in an advanced state of deterioration, including roads, bridges, the University of Puerto Rico and public service buildings all of whom were critically endangered during Irma’s passing. A good part of the country’s “essential infrastructure” is on the coast, making it vulnerable to flooding, high tides and storm surges, especially during hurricanes of Irma’s or Maria’s intensity.
It is notable that much of that infrastructure was built to benefit the tourist industry and mercantile trade with the US, and the US alone. Money invested in infrastructure tends to go towards revitalizing these “essentials”, not to repairing the potholed roads in our communities, remediating asbestos-filled buildings or replacing crumbling light poles at the mercy of hurricane winds. All of this is further proof of our colonial market dependency and the essentially colonial nature of the tourist industry, which caters particularly to PR’s relationship with the US.
Even the disaster declaration signed by the US President authorizing FEMA assistance for Puerto Rico second-rate, allowing only for search and rescue, public health and safety, and debris removal. It didn’t include rebuilding or even restoration of power, and with the current fiscal crisis and the Fiscal Control Board’s silence since Irma’s passing, rebuilding and restructuring will be a tough feat for Puerto Rico given the lack of available resources.
Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico’s Carla Minet said:
The budget cuts, in an already weak economy, will probably make the storm’s social impact worse.
Minet added that a pre-Irma forecast by the Center for a New Economy’s policy director, Sergio M. Marxuach, predicts that the recently approved the Fiscal Plan would result in another lost decade, continued population loss due to migration and lower birth rates, lower employment, less access to public education, pension cuts, worsening health outcomes, higher mortality and lower life expectancy, and, ultimately, higher rates of poverty and inequality. “Now add in the cataclysm of a monster hurricane that the plan never accounted for,” said Minet.
The Fiscal Control Board is likely to use Irma as an excuse to aggressively push the many policies it has in line, such as the privatization of PR’s Electric Power Authority (AEE). Nor would it be surprising if Gov. Rosselló and the Fiscal Control Board used the occasion to dismantle and privatize the University of Puerto Rico, the only public higher education institution in the country, as well as a number of other public institutions that are defenseless against the colonial rule of the Fiscal Control Board and its blatant neoliberal attacks.
Now, barely two weeks after Irma’s passing, we’ve just been hit by another category 5 hurricane, María. This just as some household have just got back their electricity supply, and while others are still living in the dark; while the ground is still strewn with fallen trees and light posts waiting to take on second lives as projectiles; while many, both locals and refugees from neighboring Caribbean islands, are still recovering from the loss of their homes, their entire reality; and while crisis and colonialism continue to hold hands, as they do every day.
And so, you’re sitting in your cot with your straw hat on, hundreds of locals scrambling around you with what’s left of their lives stuffed into a bag or a suitcase, wondering why JetBlue dropped you off here and high-tailed it; why the shelter is so understaffed; why the power went even though it hasn’t yet started raining and not a gusts of wind has blown; why CNN wasn’t covering Irma’s passing over Puerto Rico. “I’m here, send over an Embassy representative for me!” you yell in your mind as you stare at the screen of your almost-dead smartphone. Why, you wonder, has life had been so unfair to you, ruining your longed-for vacation in the Island of enchantment.
Then your thoughts are interrupted as you spot a window and you walk gloomily towards it and look through pigeon-christened glass, and watch as the storm clouds gather and gusts of wind batter a US flag—oh, and a Puerto Rican one too.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – An magnitude 6.2 earthquake shook southern Mexico on Saturday and was felt in the capital, where seismic alarms sounded, residents ran into the streets and rescuers briefly stopped combing the rubble left by a bigger tremor earlier this week.
The United States Geological Survey said the new quake was relatively shallow and hit near Juchitan, which is a tropical region of Oaxaca state hard hit by another major earthquake on Sept 7.
Already shaken by the two recent earthquakes that have killed at least 380 people in Mexico this month, thousands of people ran out onto the streets again in Oaxaca and Mexico City, some in pajamas when the new tremor shortly before 8 a.m. (1300 GMT).
“I heard the alarm and ran downstairs with my family,” said Sergio Cedillo, 49, who was watching rescuers efforts to find survivors from Tuesday’s quake when the alarm sounded.
No new damage was immediately reported, but rescue efforts were suspended in areas affected by Tuesday’s quake to allow authorities to see if the new tremors would put workers at risk, Luis Felipe Puente, the head of Mexico’s civil protection agency said.
Reporting by Julia Love and Alexandra Alper; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Franklin Paul
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Mexico City (CNN) The search for a 12-year-old thought to be trapped in a Mexico City elementary school ended Thursday with the news that all students have been accounted for.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)
A magnitude 6.1 hit off the coast of Japan east of Fukushima and Kamaishi on Wednesday.
The U.S. Geological Survey, or the USGS, recorded the earthquake near Japan at 11:37 a.m. EST. The agency’s website also showed that 41 people responded saying they felt the earthquake along Japan’s eastern coast.
No further details have been released on the earthquake. However, USGS estimates few economic losses and little to no fatalities will come of the earthquake. No tsunami warning has been issued so far.
An earthquake and tsunami in Japan 2011 caused meltdown in three reactors of Fukushima’s nuclear power plant, the Associated Press reported. The disaster forced residents to leave their homes, many remaining displaced years later. Since then, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has supported nuclear energyand its economic benefits.
The earthquake off Japan’s coast comes as Mexico is still recovering from two deadly earthquakes less than two weeks apart. The latest earthquake causes buildings to collapse and killed over 200 people.
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