7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes northwest of Acapulco, Mexico

Mexico 7.2 April 18th
April 2014MEXICOA powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. It was felt across at least a half-dozen states and Mexico’s capital, where it shook for at least 30 seconds. Around the region, there were reports of isolated and minor damage, such as fallen fences, trees and broken windows. Chilpancingo, capital of the southern state of Guerrero, where the quake was centered, reported a power outage, but service was restored after 15 minutes. In Acapulco, 59-year-old Enedina Ramirez Perez was having breakfast, enjoying the holiday with about 20 family members, when her hotel started to shake. “People were turning over chairs in their desperation to get out, grabbing children, trampling people,” the Mexico City woman said. “The hotel security was excellent and starting calming people down. They got everyone to leave quietly.”
The quake struck 170 miles (273 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City, where people fled high rises and took to the streets, many in still in their bathrobes and pajamas on their day off. “I started to hear the walls creak and I said, ‘Let’s go,’” said Rodolfo Duarte, 32, who fled his third-floor apartment. “This is really strong,” said Gabriel Alejandro Hernandez Chavez, 45, an apartment building guard in central Mexico City. “And I’m accustomed to earthquakes.” The USGS initially calculated the quake’s magnitude at 7.5, but later downgraded it to 7.2. It said the quake was centered 22 miles (36 kilometers) northwest of the town of Tecpan de Galeana, and was 15 miles (24 kilometers) deep. In many cases of earthquakes in Mexico, it can take time to receive word from remote areas near the epicenter, where damage could be more extensive. No one answered the phone at the city hall for Tecpan de Galeana. Mexico City itself is vulnerable even to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that quiver as quake waves hit. The magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles (400 kilometers) away on the Pacific Coast. -ABC
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Peru evacuates Ubinas volcano area after ash cloud

April 2014 PERUThe authorities in Peru say they are evacuating people living near the Ubinas volcano, in the south of the country, because of increased activity. Officials said it would take three days to move 4,000 residents and their livestock to safer grounds. Ubinas, Peru’s most active volcano, recently began spewing ash clouds up to 4km (two miles) high. An eruption of cinder and toxic gases in 2006 killed livestock and forced a similar evacuation. Last week, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the provinces closest to the volcano to help those most-affected. Agriculture Minister Juan Benites said the residents and their 30,000 animals, including llamas and alpacas, would be moved to an area 20km (12 miles) away. The 5,672-metre (18,609-foot) volcano is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Arequipa, Peru’s second-most populous city. -BBC
Mt. Everest avalanche kills 12: Regardless of the final toll, it’s the single deadliest day ever on Everest — surpassing the eight deaths in May 1996 when a storm struck. That tragedy was the basis for the best-selling book Into Thin Air. According to Reuters, the avalanche “hit the most popular route to the mountain’s peak … between base camp and camp 1.” CNN says the site of the disaster is about 20,000 feet above sea level. Everest’s peak is an estimated 29,035 feet above sea level. This is the climbing season on Everest, which more than 4,000 people have successfully climbed. About 250 have died on the mountain that borders Nepal and Tibet, Reuters notes. The Sherpas who were killed Friday and some climbers had in recent days been setting ropes, preparing camps and acclimating to the altitude, CNN reports.
While dangerous, Everest is not the world’s “deadliest” mountain, according to various analyses. As The Daily Beast has noted, Nepal’s Annapurna has a “death rate” of nearly 38 percent — or, as The Telegraph has put it, Annapurna has “the highest fatality-to-summit ratio of any mountain over 8,000 meters [26,247 feet].” While about 160 people have reached the top of Annapurna and returned, at least 60 have died trying. Everest’s death rate stands at about 6 percent. -NPR
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Scientists puzzled by recent flurry of quakes in central Idaho

April 2014BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Three portable seismographs will be installed in the Challis area in central Idaho to help experts better understand a recent flurry of earthquakes. Harley Benz, scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center, said scientists decided Tuesday to put in the devices. One of them should be in place by Wednesday and two more within a week to record future earthquakes. “It certainly has gotten the attention of the state and our regional partners,” Benz said. “So what we’re trying to do is put in an array to get a better feel for the location of the events and the depths and the rate of activity.” The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a sequence of quakes rumbling the area, the largest of them being a 4.1-magnitude quake on Thursday, a 4.9 quake on Sunday and a 4.4 on Monday. Smaller quakes have also been recorded, including five on Monday ranging from 2.5 to 3.3 in magnitude. Three of the quakes took place within a 40-minute span starting about 9:12 p.m. Monday. The quakes have ranged from about 6 to 15 miles northwest of Challis in lightly populated Custer County. “People are asking: ‘Is this going to lead to a bigger earthquake?’” said Benz, based in Golden, Colo. “And the answer is we simply don’t know.” He noted the earthquakes are in the same region as Idaho’s largest recorded quake, a 6.9-magnitude in 1983 near Borah Peak, Idaho’s tallest peak at 12,667 feet. Linda Lumpkin, a dispatcher for the Custer County Sheriff’s Office in Challis, said she personally is expecting another big one, but residents in general have become accustomed to the recent temblors.
“At this point, everybody is not getting real shook up about anything because we’re getting them almost every day,” she said. Benz said the three portable seismographs will provide real-time information and, using triangulation, allow scientists to pinpoint the locations of the earthquakes, including depth, should they continue. They’ll also be able to record smaller quakes, down to about a 1.0 magnitude. He said the nearest seismograph in place now is about 71 miles away in Montana, meaning earthquake locations in the Challis area could be off by 4 miles. Depths are also difficult to plot accurately. By putting three stations within 6 to 12 miles, the error could be reduced to about half a mile, he said. “We can find out where they are actually occurring and at what depth,” Benz said. “One station will significantly help, and three will do better.” The plan is to put them in an L shape, he said. “Ideally, you would like them to be in as quiet a spot as possible,” Benz said. “The other problem with this part of the world is there is lots of snow. Finding sites is not going to be straightforward.” The seismographs will be installed by a field engineer from the University of Utah, he said. The engineer has two of the portable seismographs, and the U.S. Geological Survey is sending a third. Idaho’s quakes, Benz said, are caused by broad-scale deformation of the Western United States as a result of plate tectonics. The three portable seismographs could help scientists identify which fault is currently active, if the quakes continue. -KOMO
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West Africa Ebola confirmed in outbreak is new strain

April 2014AFRICA The Ebola virus in western Africa is a novel strain that probably evolved locally and circulated for months before the outbreak became apparent, researchers said. The index case is probably a 2-year-old child from Guinea’s Guéckédou prefecture who died Dec. 6, 2013 — several months before the outbreak was recognized in March, according to Stephan Günther, MD, of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues. The findings come from an early epidemiological “look-back” and genetic examination of virus samples from 15 patients, Günther and colleagues reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine. The report comes as the World Health Organization is reporting that the outbreak now includes 202 suspected or confirmed cases — 168 in Guinea, 28 in Liberia, and six in Mali. There have been 121 deaths. Meanwhile, the health ministry in Guinea was optimistic that the worst is over. A spokesman told reporters the rate of new cases has slowed dramatically in Guinea and the outbreak is nearly under control. Reuters news agency quoted spokesman Rafi Diallo as saying: “The number of new cases has fallen rapidly” and the most recent cases are people who are not sick but are being monitored because they had been in contact with those who had fallen ill. “Once we no longer have any new cases … we can say that it is totally under control,” Diallo was quoted as saying. Günther and colleagues studied samples from 15 patients and concluded the virus affecting them is a novel version of ebolavirus, which has five species: Zaire ebolavirus (or EBOV), Sudan ebolavirus, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Reston ebolavirus, and Tai Forest ebolavirus. The first three have caused major outbreaks in Africa, while the Tai Forest species has been responsible for a single human case, and the Reston species, which circulates in the Philippines, affects nonhuman primates but not people.
The version in the current outbreak is 97% identical to strains from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, but is a separate grouping with the EBOV clade, Günther and colleagues found. It probably evolved recently in parallel with the strains from other countries and was not introduced into Guinea from them, they concluded. “It is possible that EBOV has circulated undetected in this region for some time,” they wrote, and its emergence “highlights the risk of EBOV outbreaks in the whole West African subregion.” To try to get a handle on that emergence, the researchers reviewed hospital documentation and interviewed affected families, patients, and inhabitants of villages in which cases occurred. What appears to be the first case — at the “current state of the epidemiologic investigation” — was the 2-year-old, who lived in Meliandou in Guéckédou prefecture, the researchers wrote. Several members of her family also became ill and died, as did several contacts from other villages. Importantly, a healthcare worker who treated family members appears to have been the key player in spreading the virus beyond the local region. The worker became ill, went to hospital in the neighboring Macenta prefecture, and died there. From there, family members carried the virus back to other parts of Guéckédou and other contacts spread the virus to Nzérékoré and Kissidougou prefectures. The virus was apparently transmitted for months before the outbreak became evident, the researchers argued — a length of exposure that “allowed many transmission chains and thus increased the number of cases. –Med Page Today
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6.9 magnitude earthquake strikes remote Bouvet Island in South Atlantic

April 2014 ATLANTIC - A 6.9 earthquake shook the remote Bouvet Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean Tuesday Morning. Bouvet Island (Norwegian: Bouvetøya, is an uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island and dependency of Norway located in the South Atlantic Ocean at 54°25.8′S 3°22.8′ECoordinates: 54°25.8′S 3°22.8′E. It lies at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is the most remote island in the world, approximately 2,200 kilometers (1,400 mi) south-southwest of the coast of South Africa and approximately 1,700 kilometers (1,100 mi) north of the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The island has an area of 49 square kilometers (19 sq mi), of which 93 percent is covered by a glacier. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano. Some skerries and one smaller island, Larsøya, lie along the coast. Nyrøysa, created by a rock slide in the late 1950s, is the only easy place to land and is the location of a weather station.
The island was first spotted on January 1, 1739, by (and was later named for) Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier. He recorded inaccurate coordinates and the island was not sighted again until 1808, when the British whaler captain James Lindsay named it Lindsay Island.[3] The first claim of landing, although disputed, was by Benjamin Morrell. In 1825, the island was claimed for the British Crown by George Norris, who named it Liverpool Island. He also reported Thompson Island as nearby, although this was later shown to be a phantom island. The first Norvegia expedition landed on the island in 1927 and claimed it for Norway. After a dispute with the United Kingdom, it was declared a Norwegian dependency in 1930. It became a nature reserve in 1971. –Eturbo News
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Third earthquake strikes Nicaragua in less than a week: fears rampant of ‘big one’

April 2014NICARAGUAA third earthquake in less than a week struck Nicaragua early on Monday morning, shaking buildings in the capital, Managua, though there were no immediate reports of damage. An official at Nicaragua’s seismological authority said the quake magnitude was 5.6, but its shallow depth had imparted a greater impact. The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck some 6 km (4 miles) northwest of Managua at a depth of 14 km. The USGS initially registered the quake at magnitude 5.1. Emergency services in Managua were checking for signs of impact, but did not immediately report any damage. Earthquakes also struck Nicaragua on Thursday and Friday last week. The latter, of magnitude 6.6, was felt as far away as El Salvador and Costa Rica. –Times of India
A 5.1-magnitude earthquake shook Nicaragua on Sunday night, the third quake to hit the Central American nation within a week. Seven homes collapsed but there have so far been no reports of any casualties. Officials said the quakes could be an indication that the geological fault line which runs underneath the capital, Managua, has been re-activated. Movement in the Estadia fault caused the 1972 quake which killed at least 5,000 people and devastated Managua. Nicaragua was struck by another two earthquakes on Thursday and Friday last week, raising fears a bigger quake may hit “within days.”
The president said there had been reports of injuries, but did not give further details. Angelica Munoz of Ineter, the Nicaraguan state body which monitors tremors, said there had been nine aftershocks following Sunday’s quake. She said one of the aftershocks had originated in the fault line which caused the 1972 earthquake, in which large parts of Managua’s city centre were destroyed and two thirds of its one million residents displaced. – BBC
Nicarauga 5.1 earthquake
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Powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the Solomon Islands: second large earthquake in 24 hours

Solomon Islands 7.5 mag April 13
April 2014SOLOMON ISLANDSA powerful magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands on Sunday morning, triggering a tsunami warning that was later cancelled, according to U.S. government agencies, and there were no immediate reports of damage. The quake was centered 100 km (60 miles) south of Kira Kira on the island of Makira at a depth of 35 km ( 21.7 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was originally recorded as a 7.7 was later revised down by the USGS. “So far we have received no reports of damage,” said Constable Taylor Fugo from Kira Kira police. “The people responded very well to the (tsunami) warning. They all went up the hills and have been watching and waiting for advice.” A tsunami warning for the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu was cancelled after only very small tsunami wave activity, just a couple of centimetres, had been measured at two reading stations near the epicentre, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. It is the second powerful quake to strike the region in 24 hours. On April 12, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the same region.
An earlier tsunami watch for Fiji, Australia, Indonesia and nearby areas was cancelled after the earthquake was revised down from its original magnitude of 8.3.A series of aftershocks followed the quake, the strongest a magnitude 5.9, hit the region shortly afterwards, the USGS said. The Solomon Islands straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a highly seismically active zone where different plates on the earth’s crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes. A powerful 8.0 magnitude quake in 2013 in a similar area generated a local tsunami that killed at least five people. –Malaysian Digest
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