Archive | April 2015

Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater Axial Volcano

Volcano Alert

If a volcano erupts at the bottom of the sea, does anybody see it? If that volcano is Axial Seamount, about 300 miles offshore and 1 mile deep, the answer now is yes.
 
Thanks to a set of high-tech instruments installed last summer by the University of Washington to bring the deep sea online, what appears to be an eruption of Axial Volcano on April 23 was observed in real time by scientists on shore.
 
“It was an astonishing experience to see the changes taking place 300 miles away with no one anywhere nearby, and the data flowed back to land at the speed of light through the fiber-optic cable connected to Pacific City — and from there to here on campus by the Internet in milliseconds,” said John Delaney, a UW professor of oceanography who led the installation of the instruments as part of a larger effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
 
Delaney organized a workshop on campus in mid-April at which marine scientists discussed how this high-tech observatory would support their science. Then, just before midnight on April 23 until about noon the next day, the seismic activity went off the charts.
 
The gradually increasing rumblings of the mountain were documented over recent weeks by William Wilcock, a UW marine geophysicist who studies such systems.
 
During last week’s event, the earthquakes increased from hundreds per day to thousands per day, and the center of the volcanic crater dropped by about 6 feet (2 meters) over the course of 12 hours.
 
“The only way that could have happened was to have the magma move from beneath the caldera to some other location,” Delaney said, “which the earthquakes indicate is right along the edge of the caldera on the east side.”
 
The seismic activity was recorded by eight seismometers that measure shaking up to 200 times per second around the caldera and at the base of the 3,000-foot seamount. The height of the caldera was tracked by the bottom pressure tilt instrument, which measures the pressure of the water overhead and then removes the effect of tides and waves to calculate its position.
 
The depth instrument was developed by Bill Chadwick, an oceanographer at Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who has also been tracking the activity at Axial Volcano and predicted that the volcano would erupt in 2015.
 
The most recent eruptions were in 1998 and 2011. 
 
The volcano is located about 300 miles west of Astoria, Oregon, on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, part of the globe-girdling mid-ocean ridge system — a continuous, 70,000 km (43,500 miles) long submarine volcanic mountain range stretching around the world like the strings on a baseball, and where about 70 percent of the planet’s volcanic activity occurs. The highly energetic Axial Seamount, Delaney said, is viewed by many scientists as being representative of the myriad processes operating continuously along the powerful subsea volcanic chain that is present in every ocean.
 
“This exciting sequence of events documented by the OOI-Cabled Array at Axial Seamount gives us an entirely new view of how our planet works,” said Richard Murray, division director for ocean sciences at the National Science Foundation. “Although the OOI-Cabled Array is not yet fully operational, even with these preliminary observations we can see how the power of innovative instrumentation has the potential to teach us new things about volcanism, earthquakes and other vitally important scientific phenomena.”
 
The full set of instruments in the deep-sea observatory is scheduled to come online this year. A first maintenance cruise leaves from the UW in early July, and will let researchers and students further explore the aftermath of the volcanic activity.
Courtesy of washington.edu

Hundreds of dead fish found in Bethlehem Township pond, ‘never encountered before’ in Pennsylvania, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Green Pond in Bethlehem Township is filled with hundreds of dead fish, a problem township officials say they’ve never before encountered.
 
Township officials were troubled to hear the pond along Green Pond Road was filled with dead fish, and reached out to state officials Thursday seeking the reason.
 
A locally based Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission official said he believes the pond has so many dead fish because of the especially cold winter. Shallow bodies of water, like Green Pond, sometimes don’t have enough non-frozen water to sustain fish in cold winters, said Lee Creyer, a commission waterways conservation officer.
 
“There’s not much water for the fish and it becomes an oxygen problem,” he said. “It’s called winter kill.”
 
Creyer has never seen winter kill happen before at Green Pond but said it’s a common occurrence at other shallow bodies of water in the Lehigh Valley, especially at East Bangor Dam in East Bangor.
 
“It’s been a bad winter and it hits the shallow lakes,” Creyer said. “I’m sure that’s what it is.”
 
Several residents following plans for 261 age-restricted homes across from the pond at Green Pond Country Club also noticed all the dead fish, said Save Green Pond Marsh leader Jack Glagola. Glagola lives across from Green Pond on Farmersville Road and said he’s never seen so many dead fish in his 30 years living there.
 
Glagola reached out to officials at Moravian Academy, which owns the pond. A school science teacher also said she believes so many fish are dead because of the so-called winter kill, Glagola said.
 
Moravian Academy spokeswoman Carla Snook said the school’s headmaster also reached out to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and was told the cold winter was likely the source.
 
“The thought is the fish were likely not at the top of the surface, but now that everything is melting, they’re coming up to the top,” Snook said. “Our facilities will take care of it.”
 
Glagola said he doesn’t believe any tests that were done in anticipation of the homes were the cause for the dead fish, but he and other residents are concerned about the area’s overall ecosystem. The Save Green Pond Marsh members oppose the homes because they’ll be built near wetlands used by migratory birds.
 
“We’re just concerned from a biodiversity standpoint,” Glagola said. “It’s a whole bio-system that works together with the pond and the fields.”
Courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Thousands of dead fish found floating off Lantau Island, China

Dead fish floating near Discovery Bay. Photo: Gary Stokes
Dead fish floating near Discovery Bay. Photo: Gary Stokes
Thousands of dead fish have been found floating in rubbish between Peng Chau and Discovery Bay.
 
One scientist said they could have been killed by an algal bloom that starves fish of oxygen, or waste dumped in the water.
 
Pictures seen by the South China Morning Post showed some had washed up on a beach in Peng Chau, off the northeast coast of Lantau Island.
 
Islands District Councillor Josephine Tsang Sau-ho said: “The fish are around half the size of a palm. There were thousands of them when they washed up and they really smell.”
 
She said fishermen had told her trawling was not to blame.
 
The fish were found on Thursday and workers later cleaned up the beach. The Marine Department said around 80 catties of dead fish were cleaned up from water in the area yesterday.
 
Gary Stokes of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had also taken pictures when he witnessed dead fish “numbering in thousands” floating in the area, according to his Facebook page.
 
Professor Chan King-ming, director of the Environmental Science Programme at Chinese University, believed the fish had been dead for two or three days.
 
While he said he had not visited the scene, Chan suspected the changing season from spring to summer might have proved devastating for the fish.
 
“When the sun shines, it warms the water. It favours the growth of algal species and eventually leads to a drop in oxygen level,” Chan said, adding that the drop in oxygen would kill the fish.
 
Another possibility, he said, was the illegal dumping of waste from construction of the bridge connecting Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Macau.
 
A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it had contacted fish farmers in the area but there were no reports of deaths from their mariculture rafts.
Courtesy of scmp.com

Die off of sea birds along Seward City coast, ‘very thin and emaciated’ in Alaska, USA

Common murre carcass found Sunday at Lowell Point beach. Heidi Zemach photo.
Common murre carcass found Sunday at Lowell Point beach. Heidi Zemach photo
If you’ve walked Seward waterfronts lately, you might have come across the carcasses of common murres or you might have spotted bald eagles feasting on them. There’s been a lot of the carcasses spotted, and people are calling in, said Dr. Carrie Goertz, a staff veterinarian at Alaska SeaLife Center who also helps manage the stranding program and disaster response. Most of the murres are very thin and emaciated, indicating starvation, she said. The phenomenon is apparently a murre die-off, or “wreck,” and is probably caused by these small marine birds having exhausted their nutritional reserves, with the sudden bouts of cold temperatures and waves of poor weather in mid to late March pushing them over the edge to their deaths. Also, the fish biomass may not have coincided with when they were in the area, plus in a weakened state they’re easier prey for predators, or to get hit by cars, the latter two of which she saw examples of in the bird carcasses brought in to ASLC, Goertz said. The center vets did some cursory examinations of the murres they found, but are sending them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey for more in-depth examinations.
 
Common murres eat small fish, and breed in rocky cliffs. They travel great distances seeking food.
These die-offs tend to be cyclical, and there have been other murre wrecks reported historically in the Seward area, although people observe that this one seems more pronounced than in the past. In 2005, a year after Dr. Goertz came to Seward, she remembers another die-off of common murres. They often occur at around the same time of year, before spring productivity hits.  Common murre die offs, and other mass deaths of other auklet species have been reported in other coastal areas of South Central, and clear down the Pacific coast from California to Canada, and on the Oregon coastline.
 
Almost all of the dozen common murres this SCN reporter and her husband Robert spotted along the downtown Seward waterfront and Lowell Point last weekend had their bellies eaten out by scavengers, probably eagles but also by gulls and other critters. The bellies are less protected by bones, and thus easier to get at, Goertz said. There were several pairs of eagles perched in the trees above some of the carcasses, and another eagle on a post along Lowell Point Road, eating what appeared to be one.
Courtesy of sewardcitynews.com

Tons of fish die suddenly in a pond in Hai Duong, Vietnam

Mr. Pham Duc tell terrible pain, pop Odyssey live
Accordingly, approximately 4 h in the morning of British pop Odyssey live 1.4 German Offense, stay at the hamlet of upper Union Township District, rice, spices, loc, Hai Duong Province discovered the fish in the pond of white to die undertook to shore without known cause.
 
“When I came out of his house’s pond ever drop in fish ponds are filled with floating dead series, made it to shore. In particular, on the banks of the pond remains scarred legs and bottles of pesticides herbicides, United Kingdom oil viscosity and Golden post office snail which suspects blend into each other and then pour down the pond “-you are breaking the German pop Odyssey live said.
According to his estimates, number pop Odyssey live fish in the pond, be someone else pour herbicides pesticides cause mass fish death up to a ton with a variety of carp, carp, carp and. .. With current cost, estimated his family damages of about 25 million.Shortly after, the death of fish pond owners have reported to local authorities. Receiving information, Gia Loc district authorities in cooperation with the provincial inspection forces on the scene find out things, seized bottles to examination of fingerprints at the scene. At the same time, taking water samples to test, identify the chemical investigation.
 
Currently, the Agency continues to investigate, clarify.
Courtesy of laodong.com

Fish kill in Wascana Lake in Regina, Canada

Fish Kill Alert

It’s not a pretty sight, but dead fish emerging on the shores of Regina’s Wascana Lake is a sign of spring.
 
The Wascana Centre Authority in Regina said it is a common occurrence. However, it also said there are more dead fish now than in past years because of how the lake froze this year. 
    
Wascana Centre Authority CEO, Bernadette McIntyre, said the park will clean up the carcasses on the shoreline if they become a public safety issue.
 
“It is the circle of life,” McIntyre said. “You’ll see the gulls and if the pelicans were back, they’d be eating them, too. So it’s nature. We’re a park and we don’t interfere with nature, unless it’s causing harm in some way.”
 
McIntyre said most of the fish will continue downstream. 
 
“Ninety-plus per cent of the fish is common carp, which is harmful to the lake, so this is again very positive,” McIntyre said. “Mother Nature’s helped look after us.”
Courtesy of cbc.ca

Pyroclastic flows destroy village on southern flank at Sinabung volcano in Sumatra, Indonesia

Image: @endrolewa / twitter
A series of strong pyroclastic flows occurred yesterday 28 April 2015, reaching 3-4.5 km distance. The largest, at 18:20 local time touched and burnt the (evacuated) village of Guru Kinayan on the southern slope of the volcano.
 
The flows, at least 9 in total, were results of the partial collapse of the recently emplaced lava lobe on the steep upper flank. They occurred at 17:02, 17:20, 17:33, 17:44, 17:47, 17:50, 18:03, 18:20 (probably the largest one), and at 19:52 local time.
Courtesy of volcanodiscovery.com

MAGNITUDE 3.5 SOUTHERN NORWAY

http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=439398

Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 245 km W of Oslo, Norway / pop: 580,000 / local time: 00:46:15.7 2015-04-30
64 km NE of Stavanger, Norway / pop: 121,610 / local time: 00:46:15.7 2015-04-30
33 km S of Sauda, Norway / pop: 4,290 / local time: 00:46:15.7 2015-04-30
25 km NE of Hjelmeland, Norway / pop: 2,701 / local time: 00:46:15.7 2015-04-30


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MAGNITUDE 3.6 GREATER LOS ANGELES AREA, CALIF. USA

http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=439497

Subject To Change

Depth: 12 km

Distances: 22 km S of Los Angeles, United States / pop: 3,792,621 / local time: 07:01:16.1 2015-04-30
4 km NE of Carson, United States / pop: 91,714 / local time: 07:01:16.1 2015-04-30


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