Seismic activity: Indian scientists investigate unusual changes to the sea near Kerala

September 17, 2011INDIA – With a foul smell emanating from the sea in some parts of Kerala in the last few days, scientists have said there was no cause for anxiety but are divided on the reasons behind the phenomenon. Some scientists have attributed this to the large mass of marine algae killed by lowering of salinity owing to influx of fresh water from rivers and run-off but another state-based researcher disagrees with it and said the phenomenon was due to seismic factors. A team of researchers from Kerala University, which studied the phenomenon reported from coastal areas off Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram had held the foul smell was attributable to the bacterial decay of a possible algal bloom. They said they reached the conclusion based on examination of various parameters like the colour of the sea, salinity, temperature, pH nutrients, plankton, microbes and fish mortality. However, Dr. Sainudeen Pattazhy, Associate Professor of Zoology in SN College Kollam, said the stench was linked to seismic phenomena like tremors of moderate intensity that had been experienced in several districts of Kerala and other states recently. Even though parameters like salinity and temperature were within the optimum levels, there was no chance of occurrence of algal blooming, massive death and decay of algae. If algal blooming occurred, a thick scum would develop on the sea surface, which had not happened, Dr. Pattazhy told PTI. Anoxic conditions during the night, changes in water quality, pollution, upwelling, nutrient discharges, run-off from the land during the south west monsoon were all natural process but no foul smell had been felt, Dr Pattazhy said. “If massive death of plankton was due to lowering of salinity, then why did it not affect the fish fauna and other animals? No mortality of fish and other animals were observed during this period,” Dr. Pattazhy, also president of Kerala Environmental Researchers Association, said. Stench event and “red rain” were observed in 2000, 2001 and 2011 in Kerala. These events were preceded by low intensity tremors in several districts of Kerala, massive collapse of wells and land slips, he said. The fundamental cause of stench from sea was attributable to geological changes under sea, he said. The December 12, 2000 quake and the lesser intensive tremors that occurred in 2001 were causing several perceivable changes in the earth as well as the atmosphere. The epicentre was stated to be in Meenachil Taluk in Kottayam district, he said. When ‘fault’ occurred under sea, hydrogen sulphide and other inert gases would escape from the sea surface, which was the reason for the foul smell and this had no connection with algal blooming, salinity and nutrient variations, he said. At times, following the emission of gases from under the sea, molten lava would ooze to the sea surface. Some fisherman had recently reported that they had seen oozing of black fluid from the bottom to the surface of sea, he said. –The Hindu
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18 Responses to Seismic activity: Indian scientists investigate unusual changes to the sea near Kerala

  1. Scientists say there is no cause for anxiety. Sure, I really trust what the “scientists” say.



    • PansPermia says:

      I’m inclined to agree with you Irene.

      Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:15 am |
      San Diego, CA

      REGION: Initial tests fail to solve foul smell mystery
      Initial results from tests conducted on air samples offered no explanation for the foul odor that many people reported smelling Wednesday afternoon, county officials said Thursday.
      Workers with the Air Pollution Control District took air samples Wednesday afternoon and are analyzing them to see if they can detect what caused the odor. One test looking for hydrocarbons showed nothing out of the ordinary, said Bob Kart, an air pollution control officer with the district.
      A hydrocarbon is an organic compound made up of hydrogen and carbon. The most common examples of hydrocarbons are natural gas, oil and coal.
      “So far, we have analyzed 56 hydrocarbons in our first sample and have seen nothing above background levels,” Kart said Thursday.
      Two samples were taken in Carmel Valley about 5 p.m. and two more were taken in Del Mar about 5:30 p.m., Kart said.
      The Air Pollution Control District is conducting another test aimed at determining whether there are toxins in the air samples. But Kart said he did not believe they would find any toxic contaminants. The results are expected to be released Friday, he said.
      The fact that nothing has been found in the air samples doesn’t mean that nothing was present. Kart said district workers smelled the odor, too. They described it as a jet fuel or diesel-like smell, he said.
      “We agree, something was in the air, we just don’t know what it is,” he said.
      The air samples were collected in what are called summa canisters, Kart said. The containers are steel, ball-shaped vacuum canisters about 10 inches tall that suck in air.
      County officials have contacted the Federal Aviation Administration, Lindbergh Field, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and others but none of them had any idea what the source of the smell might be.
      Fire and police agencies reported getting phone calls regarding the foul odor throughout the afternoon starting at about 2 p.m. No one reported getting sick, authorities said.
      Officials with the Air Pollution Control District will also be mapping the complaint locations and wind directions to see if they can locate a rough origin of the odor.
      According to authorities, some of the first complaints came from coastal North County areas and then spread further south and inland.


  2. Misia says:

    I am currently in Peru.. and just found out:

    Love and Light.. Things are getting bad.


  3. cdkanas says:

    “If massive death of plankton was due to lowering of salinity, then why did it not affect the fish fauna and other animals?”.

    Depends how sensitive the plankton are to microchanges in salinity, when in comparison to larger lower metabolism animals.


  4. luisport says:

    After more than three months of continuous activity, Puyehue – Cordón Caulle is still capable of producing a 4 km high plume. Amazing.


  5. Passing says:

    Why do y’all hate scientists so much?



    • PansPermia says:

      Passing …I hope you come back.

      Nowhere does the word “hate” toward any scientist come into play on any of these posts.


    • nickk0 says:

      I agree with the point that ‘Passing’ is trying to make.

      Scientists may not necessarily be ‘evil’, but they are still “products of their environment” and their education.
      If a conclusion that they come to, turns out to be ‘wrong’, it could very well be, because their ‘conclusion’ is based upon the *existing world view* or *existing paradigms*.

      Key Word = ‘paradigms’.
      If we are dealing with *new* paradigms here, then the ‘old’, previously established expectations, may be obsolete.

      The kicker is that, we may not be fully aware or conscious, of the fact that paradigms are changing, even as they happen all around us.
      It will take the passing of Time, to make it apparent.

      – Nick


    • Kim says:

      No hate here. Just people saying that dont trust scientists in everything they say. Scientists have enriched our world and yes I am a Christian and never have I thought science and religion are in conflict. Only man makes it that way. But really none of the people here hate scientists.

      More revelant to the post so forgive me for getting off of it. They say that when the fault occurred under sea, hydrogen sulphide and other inert gases would escapr from the sea surface, which was the reason for the foul smell and whenI read this I thought of San Diego when everyone kept smelling a foul smell (a few weeks ago). Could it be even possible a similar thing with a fault under the sea happened recently releasing a awful smell there? Sorry this might be a dumb question.


  6. yamkin says:

    Hope you don’t mind this info, but it appears certain info is being kept from us:

    Four earthquakes were registered nearby the Kuril Islands in Russia’s Far East, a spokesman of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Sakhalin region said on Saturday. “The first earthquake of 7.1 magnitude was registered at 6:35 Sakhalin time (12:35 GMT) 460 km south-east of the city of Yuzhno-Kurilsk. Three earthquakes of 5.8, 6 and 5.9 magnitude were reported at 7:10, 8:09 and 8:38 (Sakhalin time), respectively,” the spokesman said. Epicenters were located in the Pacific Ocean and the earthquakes were not felt in the region. There is no tsunami threat, said the spokesman.


  7. J Guffey says:

    Looks like there may be some damage from this one.


  8. luisport says:

    UPDATE: 13:39 UTC:-

    Earthquakes in 1973, 1980, 2006 and 2007 have caused damage and fatalities near Sikkim, India in CATDAT.

    However, these earthquakes have had magnitudes much lower. The last earthquake in 2007 caused 2 fatalities near where the earthquake occurred today.

    UPDATE: 13:36 UTC:-

    ​PAGER is reporting a median 1 fatality from their estimate and a median 1-10 million USD damage.

    ​WAPMERR is however reporting that it could have between 100-400 fatalities, 200-800 injuries.


  9. yamkin says:

    Magnitude 6.8 – SIKKIM, INDIA
    No Tsunami Warning

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 12:40:47 UTC
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 06:10:47 PM at epicenter

    27.764°N, 88.181°E
    10 km (6.2 miles)

    Earthquake location with respect to nearby cities:
    64 km (40 miles) NW (318°) from Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    121 km (75 miles) NNW (348°) from Shiliguri, West Bengal, India
    143 km (89 miles) E (92°) from Namche Bazar, Nepal
    157 km (97 miles) W (280°) from THIMPHU, Bhutan

    Additional info related to the same area:
    Magnitude 4.8 – SIKKIM, INDIA


    UKRAINE-MOLDOVA-SW RUSSIA REGION Mwp=5.9 Np=9 2011/09/18 12:47:10.6 48.3N 29.1E 20km;BGSG&date=2011-09-18

    USGS thought not showing ts significant earthquake is ok??????????


  10. Nav Moh'd says:

    Hi, I’m from Kerala, and I have heard news reports on earthquake here. The recent seismic activity in the sea near Trivandrum make me concern about the 21-12-2012 myth. I’m at the moment collection information about the mystery behind Mayan Calender, just in case it somehow proves to be true, I don’t have to waste my time working on the assignments anymore, right?

    Yeah, I got into this website looking for recent seismic activities in Kerala. And thanks for all the information.


  11. Anilpezhumkad says:

    Iam from kerala.Pl.inform me new news


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