Powerful earthquake in Italy kills more than 150 and shatters towns

Italy EQ
August 2016 AMATRICE, ItalyA strong earthquake struck a mountainous stretch of central Italy early Wednesday, killing at least 159 people, trapping scores under debris and setting off tremors that awakened residents in Rome, nearly 100 miles to the southwest. The earthquake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 6.2, struck at 3:36 a.m., about 6.5 miles southeast of the town of Norcia in the Umbria region, followed by about 200 aftershocks over the next several hours, including a 5.5-magnitude tremor at 4:33 a.m. The authorities said the quake was comparable in intensity to one in 2009 in the Abruzzo region of central Italy that killed more than 300 people.
Towns in three regions — Umbria, Lazio and Marche — were devastated by the quake, which could be felt as far away as Bologna in the north and Naples in the south. The deaths appeared to be concentrated in four communities: at least 86 in the towns of Amatrice and Accumoli, in Lazio, and at least 32 deaths in Marche, in the village of Arquata del Tronto and the hamlet of Pescara del Tronto. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, speaking from Rieti, a city in Lazio near the epicenter, likened the affected communities to “a family that has been hit but won’t stop.” He vowed that the government would quickly start to rebuild, noting widespread anger over the long delays in rebuilding after the 2009 quake. “Reconstruction is what will allow this community to live and to restart,” he said.
At least 100 people were injured, according to Immacolata Postiglione, the head of the emergency unit for the Civil Protection Agency. “The number of missing people is undefined at the moment,” she said at a news conference in Rome. More than 1,000 people were expected to spend the night in four camps being set up in the area, Ms. Postiglione said, adding that an unknown number of tourists had not been fully accounted for. The mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi, said that “half the town no longer exists,” adding that rescue teams were digging through the rubble, “hoping that most people were alive.” The historic center of the town, with buildings dating from the Middle Ages, was destroyed.

“The problem is removing people from under the rubble,” he said. Asked how many people he thought were still trapped or dead underneath debris, he said, “Many, many.” Mr. Pirozzi added that Amatrice had been cut off because of damage to roads and a bridge, and in a live television broadcast, he appealed for assistance. The town’s missing reportedly included two refugees from Afghanistan and three nuns and four older guests at a local boardinghouse. The town’s hospital had to be evacuated, but its patients were not injured, the news agency ANSA reported. The hamlet of Pescara del Tronto was all but destroyed.
“When I arrived at the break of day, I saw a destroyed village, screams, death,” Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole of Ascoli Piceno, who visited the hamlet, told Vatican Radio. He said he had blessed “the bodies of two children buried under the rubble.” Mr. Renzi, in brief remarks before he left Rome, thanked rescue workers and volunteers who had dug through debris, some with their bare hands, to reach trapped people, and said the nation had rallied to help. “No family, no city, no hamlet will be left alone,” he said. Expressions of solidarity and offers of help poured in from France, Germany, Israel and other countries, as well as from the European Commission.

Italy EQ B

Ambulances raced back and forth on one of the main roads to Amatrice, where a courtyard in a still-standing palazzo had been turned into an impromptu morgue. CNN showed footage of construction equipment’s being used to try to comb through giant pieces of debris in Amatrice and of rescuers standing on huge piles of rubble where homes once stood, evidence of the enormous scale of the rescue effort. “We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars and jacks to remove beams,” a civil protection worker, Andrea Gentili, told The Associated Press. “Everything, we need everything.”
A video posted to YouTube by the State Forestry Corps showed a woman trapped under debris in the rural town of Capodacqua, as a man encouraged her to remain calm. Nonprofit agencies put out calls for blood donations. Massimo Cialente, the mayor of L’Aquila, the town near the epicenter of the 2009 Abruzzo earthquake, said that 250 temporary homes built after that disaster would be available for newly displaced people.  –NY Times

Italy EQ C

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Powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocks Myanmar, leaving 4 dead and temples badly damaged

Myanmar EQ
August 2016 MYANMARAt least four people are dead after a powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, knocking glasses off tables and sending people running out of buildings in the country’s largest city. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, an area west of the ancient capital of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said. Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage.
At least 185 brick pagodas in Bagan were damaged, the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs said in a statement. Bagan, also known as Pagan, has more than 2,200 structures including pagodas and temples constructed from the 10th to the 14th centuries. Many are in disrepair while others have been restored in recent years, aided by the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO.
The vast site is the country’s premier attraction for tourists, who can view a panorama of temples stretching to the horizon flanked by the mighty Irrawaddy River, an especially impressive experience at sunset. Dr. Myo Thant, general secretary of the Myanmar Earthquake Committee, said other areas apparently were not badly affected and there were no reports of deaths. However, police officer Htay Win in Pakokku, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the epicenter, said one person there had been killed and one injured. “The person was killed by falling bricks from a building,” he said.

Myanmar EQ A

 Vincent Panzani, a staff member in Pakokku for the aid agency Save the Children, said several of his colleagues from the area said it was the strongest earthquake they have experienced. “We felt quite heavy shaking for about 10 seconds and started to evacuate the building when there was another strong tremor,” he said in comments sent by email. “Most of the reports of damage have been to the pagodas in the area with dozens impacted. There have also been reports of damage to smaller, more basic buildings including a collapsed wall and a destroyed roof.”
 Worried residents of Yangon, the country’s main city, rushed out of tall buildings, and objects toppled from tables and from Buddhist shrines in homes. However, there were no immediate reports of serious damage in the city. The quake was also felt in a half dozen states in neighboring India, where people rushed out of offices and homes at several places. It caused buildings to sway in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, several hundred kilometers (miles) to the east. There were no immediate reports of damage in either country. The last major quake in the area — which is often affected by smaller tremors — occurred in April about 300 kilometers (180 miles) further north, and measured magnitude 6.9. It caused no reported casualties and only minor damage.  –Weather

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High warning alert issued for Vanuatu volcano

Ambrae Volcano
August 2016 VANUATU Local authorities have upgraded warnings around Ambae Volcano in northern Vanuatu, Radio New Zealand has just reported. According to Radio NZ, the country’s Geohazards Observatory has raised the alert to Level two on a scale of one to five which signifies the volcano is in a stage of major unrest.
“The observatory says volcanic activity could increase at any time over the next few days. It’s warned the local community, tourists and travel agencies to stay well away from the Manaro crater lakes to avoid the effects of volcanic gas, ash and other volcanic activity,” Radio NZ reported. The Department of Meteorology and Geohazards is closely monitoring the volcano which last erupted in 2009.  –Fiji Times


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7.3 magnitude earthquake strikes southeast Atlantic

August 2016 SOUTH ATLANTIC A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale was reported in the Atlantic Ocean, to the south-east of Argentina on Friday. According to an observatory in Germany, it occurred about 1,500 miles east of the southern tip of Argentina.
The German Research Center for Geosciences said that the earthquake struck early on Friday, August 19th and the epicenter was near the British administered South Georgia Island region. No tsunami alert has been issued by authorities. The US Geological Survey said that the epicenter was 195 miles (316 kilometers) from islands hosting a British Antarctic research station. The quake struck at 5:32 am local time (0732 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers.  –IB Times

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Alaska earthquake “swarm” probably not earthquakes at all

Alaska Quakes
August 2016ALASKA Earlier this summer, the scientists at the Alaska Earthquake Center began monitoring a swarm of small earthquakes in an area about eight miles west of Mt. Spurr. According to State Seismologist Dr. Michael West, they probably aren’t earthquakes at all. Hundreds of small seismic events have been registered in the area since June 11, with almost 100 of the recordings exceeding magnitude 2. “That catches our attention,” says West, “because magnitude 2 is big enough that you’re being recorded, you can see that signal a few hundred kilometers away.”
The three possible sources of these seismic events, according to West, are standard earthquake activity, volcanic activity, or glacial activity. “The patterns of all these little events didn’t fit the pattern of a classic earthquake swarm driven by stresses, tectonic pressures in the region,” says West. The Alaska Earthquake Center worked with the Alaska Volcano Observatory and largely ruled out volcanic activity. That left glaciers as the most likely explanation.
“I have to be clear, there is no smoking gun right now about exactly what these are,” West says. “The hypothesis of least astonishment I think is that they are probably coming from one of the glaciers in that area.” Most “glacier” quakes are caused by large icebergs calving into water. West says some of these can be felt hundreds of miles away. Glaciers can also cause the ground to shake from crevassing, grinding against the underlying rock and pieces falling off ice falls. “If you’ve ever stood near a glacier, it’s a noisy place to be,” says West.
This particular swarm is near Pothole Glacier and swarms have appeared in this area as far back as 1985. According to West, swarms have occurred in 2010, 2012, and 2014 as well as this year. “This year’s swarm appears to be the most vigorous to date,” says West. The swarms tend to happen between June and September. “These are the warm months. This is the time of year when glaciers are at their maximum. This is when they are moving fastest,” say West. “Glaciers sort of come alive in the summer then hibernate, tend to move a little more slowly, tend to be a little less noisy in the cold months.”
Though these small earthquakes don’t do any damage, seismologists watch them carefully. West says sometimes small earthquakes indicate the location of larger faults or they can warn of a possible volcanic eruption. “In this case, all signs suggest it is just another one of Alaska’s noisy glaciers,” says West.  –KTUU
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Popocatepetl volcano spews ash and rocks over Mexico City – Rinjani volcano erupts in Indonesia

August 2016 MEXICO The Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico, known as ‘El Popo,’ has spewed ash and rocks over the capital Mexico City and neighboring areas. The volcano, which is 34 miles away from the city, left a thin coat of dust on streets and cars.
Authorities urged residents to remove ash from roofs and streets, and put the dust in rubbish bags to keep it from clogging drains. Officials also advised people in the affected areas to close their windows and stay home as long as possible.
The volcano is considered one of the world’s most dangerous due to its proximity to the city with more than nine million inhabitants. Around 25 million people live within 62 miles of the crater of the 5,426-meter magma mount, who could also be affected. There are fears the peak is building towards a major disastrous eruption after activity increased over the past few years, although, it has been periodically erupting since 1994. The Mexican Disaster Agency’s monitoring cameras showed glowing rocks from the volcano’s crater blowing out and landing more than half a mile down its slope.
Meanwhile, the Rinjani volcano, on Lombok Island, Indonesia, saw an explosive eruption at noon yesterday local time, sending a monster 10km-high ash plume into the sky. The eruption caused the closure of Lombok’s Praya Airport from 5pm and it was not expected to reopen until this morning. The volcano erupted several times last year between October to December. Several flights between Australia and Bali were grounded as a result of yesterday’s ash cloud.  –BBC, Express

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World edging closer to an apocalyptic conflict

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Posted in Drumbeat of War, Environmental Threat, Hazardous chemical exposure, New weapons of war, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Prophecies referenced, Radiation leak or contamination | 5 Comments

Heat wave sparks anthrax outbreak in Russia’s northern Yamalo-Nenets region

Anthrax Siberia
August 2016 RUSSIAThirteen members of a nomadic Siberian community have been hospitalized after a heat wave thawed the carcass of an anthrax-infected reindeer and sparked an outbreak of the disease. Around 1,500 of the animals have died from the highly infectious disease since Sunday, the government of Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district announced on its website Tuesday.
A state of emergency has been imposed throughout the region in western Siberia due to the incident — the first of its kind since 1941. The carcass of a reindeer thought to have died from anthrax decades ago thawed and released the bacteria, sending the disease rippling through a population of animals already weakened by unusually high temperatures, according to local officials.
Temperatures in the Yamal tundra above the Arctic Circle have hit highs of 95 degrees this summer, compared to an average of 77 degrees. At least 63 members of the Nenet community have been relocated as a result of the outbreak, their tents disinfected and children sent to a boarding school, the government said. The Nenets are traditional deer-herders and their livelihoods are linked to the animals. A mass vaccination of reindeer is underway in the region, local officials said.
It may be too late for many of the animals because anthrax can kill deer within three days of infecting them, Vladimir Bogdanov, a biology professor with the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the RBC news website. Local authorities said they were considering the best way to dispose of dead reindeer. The usual method — burning — has severe risks in the tundra, as much of Siberia is already engulfed in wildfires. Anthrax has a mortality rate of 25 to 80 percent, depending on a strain.
It was explored as a biological weapon by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, though never used. Anthrax bacteria can remain dormant in dead bodies for decades, spreading to living organisms when exposed to them. Yamal authorities stopped vaccinating reindeer 10 years ago because there had been no outbreaks for more than half-a-century — an apparent mistake, Bogdanov added. –NBC News


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