Iran threatens to retaliate after Israel bombs 'Russian weapons convoy' in Syria. Iranian minister says Israel air strike will have implications for Tel Aviv
Syria and Iran today threatened to retaliate after Israel launched an air strike near Damascus.
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul-Karim Ali, says Damascus has 'the option and the surprise to retaliate'.
He said he cannot predict when the retaliation will be, saying it is up to relevant authorities to prepare for it.
In Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian today as saying the raid on Syria will have significant implications for the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
Strike: U.S. officials say Israeli jets have destroyed a convoy of Russian-made anti-aircraft weapons in Syria. File picture
U.S. officials said Israel launched a rare airstrike inside Syria yesterday, targeting a convoy believed to contain anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah.
The Syrian military denied the existence of any such shipment and said a scientific research facility outside Damascus was hit.
The attack adds a potentially flammable new element to tensions already heightened by Syria's civil war.It was the latest salvo in Israel's long-running effort to disrupt the Shiite militia's quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel's air force and spreading destruction inside the Jewish state.
Regional security officials said the strike, which occurred overnight Tuesday, targeted a site near the Lebanese border, while a Syrian army statement said it destroyed a military research center northwest of the capital, Damascus.
They appeared to be referring to the same incident.
A Russian SA-17. It is described as a 'game-changer' that could shoot down Israel's air forces
U.S. officials said the target was a truck convoy that Israel believed was carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak about the operation.
Regional officials said the shipment included sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which if acquired by Hezbollah would be 'game-changing', enabling the militants to shoot down Israeli jets, helicopters and surveillance drones.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
In a statement, the Syrian military denied the existence of any such shipment and said a scientific research facility outside Damascus was hit by the Israeli warplanes.
Anger: Both Syria and Russia condemned the airstrike. Syrian media called it a 'terrorist attack'
The Israeli military declined to comment. However, many in Israel worry that as Syrian President Bashar Assad loses power, he could strike back by transferring chemical or advanced weapons to Hezbollah, which is neighboring Lebanon's most powerful military force and is committed to Israel's destruction.
Russia has expressed concern at an alleged Israeli attack on Syria, saying such a strike would be an unacceptable violation of the UN Charter.
Russia has steadfastly refused to denounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the 22-month conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said: 'If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.'
Fear: A Free Syrian Army fighter drags his comrade who was shot by sniper fire during heavy fighting in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus yesterday
The fighter on the right died soon after being shot. He joins an estimated 60,000 who have lost their lives during the Syrian civil war
The airstrike follows decades of enmity between Israel and allies Syria and Hezbollah, which consider the Jewish state their mortal enemy. The situation has been further complicated by the civil war raging in Syria between the Assad regime and rebel brigades seeking his ouster.
The war has sapped Assad's power and threatens to deprive Hezbollah of a key supporter, in addition to its land corridor to Iran. The two countries provide Hezbollah with the bulk of its funding and arms.
A Syrian military statement read aloud on state TV Wednesday said low-flying Israeli jets crossed into Syria over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and bombed a military research center in the area of Jamraya, northwest of Damascus.
The strike destroyed the center and damaged a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others, the statement said.
The military denied the existence of any convoy bound for Lebanon, saying the center was responsible for 'raising the level of resistance and self-defense' of Syria's military.
Damascus has seen some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Rebels are fighting to oust the Bashad regime
Russia has refused to condemn the actions of government forces led by Bashar al-Assad
'This proves that Israel is the instigator, beneficiary and sometimes executor of the terrorist acts targeting Syria and its people,' the statement said.
Israel and Hezbollah fought an inconclusive 34-day war in 2006 that left 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead.
While the border has been largely quiet since, the struggle has taken other forms. Hezbollah has accused Israel of assassinating a top commander, and Israel blamed Hezbollah and Iran for a July 2012 attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.
In October, Hezbollah launched an Iranian-made reconnaissance drone over Israel, using the incident to brag about its expanding capabilities.
Israeli officials believe that Hezbollah's arsenal has markedly improved since 2006, now boasting tens of thousands of rockets and missiles and the ability to strike almost anywhere inside Israel.
Israel suspects that Damascus obtained a battery of SA-17s from Russia after an alleged Israeli airstrike in 2007 that destroyed an unfinished Syrian nuclear reactor.
Carnage: Buildings damaged by what activists said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad earlier this month
Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of the dangers of Syria's 'deadly weapons,' saying the country is 'increasingly coming apart.'
The same day, Israel moved a battery of its new 'Iron Dome' rocket defense system to the northern city of Haifa, which was battered by Hezbollah rocket fire in the 2006 war. The Israeli army called that move 'routine'.
Syria, however, cast the airstrike in a different light, linked to the country's civil war, which it blames on terrorists carrying out an international conspiracy.
Despite its icy relations with Assad, Israel has remained on the sidelines of efforts to topple him, while keeping up defenses against possible attacks.
Syrians gather around the bodies of civilians, who were executed and dumped in the Quweiq river in Aleppo yesterday. Syria's opposition charged that 'global inaction' was giving Bashar al-Assad's regime a license to kill
Israeli defense officials have carefully monitored Syria's chemical weapons, fearing Assad could deploy them or lose control of them to extremist fighters among the rebels.
President Barack Obama has called the use of chemical weapons a 'red line' that if crossed could prompt direct U.S. intervention, though U.S. officials have said Syria's stockpiles still appear to be under government control.
The strike was Israel's first inside Syria since September 2007, when warplanes destroyed a site that the U.N. nuclear watchdog deemed likely to be a nuclear reactor. Syria denied the claim, saying the building was a non-nuclear military site.
A rebel fighter stands in front of a building after they took over the village of Aljanodiya following fighting against pro-Syrian regime forces, yesterday
Syria allowed international inspectors to visit the bombed site in 2008, but it has refused to allow nuclear inspectors new access.
This has heightened suspicions that Syria has something to hide, along with its decision to level the destroyed structure and build on its site.
In 2006, Israeli warplanes flew over Assad's palace in a show of force after Syrian-backed militants captured an Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip.
And in 2003, Israeli warplanes attacked a suspected militant training camp just north of the Syrian capital, in response to an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in the city of Haifa that killed 21 Israelis.
In Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria, the military and the U.N. agency tasked with monitoring the border with Israel said Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity in the past week.
Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace are not uncommon, and it was unclear if the recent activity was related to the strike in Syria.
Syria's primary conflict with Israel is over the Golan Heights, which Israeli occupied in the 1967 war. Syria demands the area back as part of any peace deal.
Despite the hostility, Syria has kept the border quiet since the 1973 Mideast war and has never retaliated for Israeli attacks.
In May 2011, only two months after the uprising against Assad started, hundreds of Palestinians overran the tightly controlled Syria-Israeli frontier in a move widely thought to have been facilitated by the Assad regime to divert the world's gaze from his growing troubles at home.
Coincidence? This is the second major earthquake to strike close to a region, when military tensions were high and U.S. military forces were conducting multinational exercises nearby. On April 5, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck near the border area between Russia, China and North Korea, when tensions were running high between Pyongyang and Washington. The 6.2 quake (downgraded by USGS) which struck Iran, near the Middle East stress choke-point of the Strait of Hormuz, comes at a time when 41 nations are conducting naval exercises in the Strait. Will anyone finally get the message that starting a major war, involving potential weapons of mass destruction, could result in something worst than a war? In Revelation 11:18, God said He would destroy those that destroy the earth.
May 8, 2013 – MIDDLE EAST – Trends researcher Gerald Celente predicts war in the Middle East. He says, “It is out of control. What are people waiting for–an Archduke Ferdinand moment?” Celente thinks Israel bombing Syria means World War 3 is on its way. The cycle leading to war started with the crash of 2008. Celente says, “Crash, depression, currency wars . . .trade wars and then real wars. That’s what we’re seeing again.” Celente charges, “This is a proxy war against Iran because when Syria is choked off, then Iran is left alone surrounded by enemies. So, that’s what we’re really looking at. The end game is Iran.” What would happen if Iran and Israel went to war? Would the Strait of Hormuz close, gasoline explode to $10 a gallon, markets implode? Celente says, “All of the above.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Gerald Celente, Publisher of the Trends Journal.
Experts have noted increased seismic activity from Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico in recent days. The active 17,886ft volcano near Mexico City has been spewing ash, lava and plumes of steam. Soldiers and federal police deployed to area amid fears a major eruption could be imminent. Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Center has raised alert level to Yellow Phase 3
Thousands of people living in the shadow of this looming Mexican volcano have been placed on high alert following a dramatic increase in seismic activity from the Popocatepetl crater.
The 17,886ft active volcano near Mexico City, known as Popo, rumbled and shook during the night on Saturday, and has been spewing ash, lava and steam in recent days.
Officials have closed off an exclusion zone around the cone of the volcano and are poised to evacuate towns in its foothills as experts warned of plumes of steam reaching more than half a mile into the sky above the crater.
Threat: Officials are poised to evacuate thousands of people living in the shadow of the Popocatepetl Volcano in Mexico, which has been spewing ash in recent days
'Increased activity': The National Center for Disaster Prevention has elevated its warning level to Yellow Stage 3 - the fifth rung on a seven stage scale - after the Mexican volcano began spewing lava, ash and gases
Authorities have alerted town in two central states as well as the capital, after Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Center elevated its alert level to Yellow Phase 3 - the fifth rung on a seven-stage warning scale. Should the alert level rise thousands of people could be evacuated from the most vulnerable villages in the shadow of the peak. Shelters have been set up in case authorities are forced to evacuate residents.
A seven-square-mile exclusion zone has been imposed around the cone of the volcano, and soldiers and federal police have been deployed to the area amid fears of further, more violent eruptions from Popo.
Popocatepetl is an Aztec word meaning 'Smoking Mountain'. Popo lay dormant for decades until it began putting out small eruptions of ash almost daily in 1994. These eruptions started strengthening two weeks ago and have increased even more this weekend.
VIDEO Mexican volcano Popocatepetl spews ash over nearby towns
Danger: Smoke rises from the volcano, known as Popo, as residents of the towns in the foothills of the volcano brace themselves for further activity
In the shadow of Popo: A man walks past an evacuation sign in Puebla, Mexico, left, amid fears a major eruption from the Popocatepetl volcano could be imminent
Warnings: Soldiers and federal police have been deployed to the area in case of further, more powerful eruptions from the Popocatepetl volcano near Mexico City
'We're ready for any emergency,' Lidia Carrillo, a spokeswoman for the state, told the Los Angeles Times.
Moderate outbursts from Popo in recent years have seen officials forced to evacuate residents from their homes.
The millions of people who have settled in and around the Mexican capital mean experts regard Popocatepetl as one of the most potentially destructive volcanoes in the world.
Steam: Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Center elevated its alert level as towering plumes of steam began emerging from the enormous Mexican volcano
Safety measures: State vehicles line the streets in Xalitzintla in Puebla, where authorities are poised to put an evacuation plan into action should activity from Popo increase further
May 7, 2013 – ISRAEL – Syria has stationed missile batteries aimed at Israel in the aftermath of alleged Israeli air strikes in the country, the website of Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV, considered close to the regime of President Bashar Assad, quoted a top Syrian official as saying on Sunday. The report came as Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi said on Sunday that alleged Israeli air strikes against three targets on the outskirts of Damascus “open the door to all possibilities.” The minister’s comments at a press conference came after an emergency cabinet meeting organized to respond to what a Western source said was a new strike on Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Although Zoabi did not hint at a concrete course of action, he said it was Damascus’s duty to protect the state from any “domestic or foreign attack through all available means.” Sunday’s attack is the third reported Israeli assault this year on Syrian soil. Previous strikes on Syria allegedly carried out by Israel have not elicited a military response from Syria or its allies Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Israel declined to confirm the strike so as not to pressure Assad into serious retaliation, according to a confidant of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Earlier on Sunday, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad told CNN that Israel’s air strikes in the country were interpreted as an Israeli “declaration of war” on the Assad regime. In an interview with CNN, Faisal said that Syria would respond in a manner of its own time and choosing. Syria’s state television said the strikes were a response to recent military gains by Assad’s forces against rebels. “The new Israeli attack is an attempt to raise the morale of the terrorist groups which have been reeling from strikes by our noble army,” it said. Meanwhile, the IDF has deployed two Iron Dome batteries to northern cities due to regional tensions following air strikes in Damascus which Western sources have attributed to the Israel Air Force. -Jerusalem Post
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May 6, 2013 – SYRIA - Concern over the possibility of broader war in the Middle East grew Monday in the wake of reported airstrikes on Syrian military installations. The reported strikes killed 42 Syrian soldiers, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday, citing medical sources. It said 100 people remained missing. The Syrian government warned Sunday’s apparent strikes — which followed one last week attributed by Syria to Israel – “opens the door wide for all the possibilities.” Syrian ally Iran warned of a “crushing response” while Russia called reports of Israeli involvement “very worrying.” But an Israeli general who commands forces on the Syrian border said “there are no winds of war,” according to the Israel Defense Forces website. The heightened tensions come amid questions over possible chemical weapon use in Syria and international debate over how to respond to the country’s bloody civil war, in which more than 70,000 people have died in more than two years of fighting. On Monday, a U.N. official spoke of strong suspicions that rebels, not Syrian government forces, have used chemical weapons. Syria claimed Israeli missiles struck at its military facilities on Sunday. According to the state-run SANA news agency, Israeli missiles struck a research center in Jamayra, a facility in Maysaloun and what the news agency described as a “paragliding airport” near Damascus. The blasts prompted terrified residents nearby to run for cover. “Everything kept exploding over and over again,” said Anna Deeb, whose family lives just over a mile away. “We could hear gunshots, we could hear people screaming. … We didn’t know what to do, and there was a problem with us breathing because the smoke was too much.” Syria says the attack followed another Israeli airstrike late last week. Israel has not confirmed or denied that its forces were involved in any attacks inside Syria, but a U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr on Monday that Israeli forces conducted Sunday’s strike, as well as one last week. Sunday’s strike targeted a research facility in a mountainous area near Damascus and weapons that were to be transferred to Hezbollah, according to the source. The earlier strike, which U.S. officials had previously said happened Thursday or Friday, targeted Fateh 110 missiles stored at the Damascus airport, the source said. -CNN
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May 6, 2013 – SYRIA – A series of massive explosions illuminated the dark sky over Damascus early Sunday, igniting renewed claims that Israel has launched attacks into the war-torn country. Syria’s government said the explosions were the second Israeli airstrike in three days. The latest target, officials said, was a military research facility outside the Syrian capital. A top Syrian official told CNN in an exclusive interview that the attack was a “declaration of war” by Israel. Syrian authorities vowed to retaliate against Israel but did not specify what action they would take. The Israeli military would not confirm or deny the Syrian claim that Israel fired rockets that hit the Jamraya research center in the Damascus suburbs. “We do not comment on these reports at all,” an Israeli military representative said. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “grave concern” over the reports of Israeli airstrikes in Syria Sunday but stressed that the U.N. is not “in a position to independently verify what has occurred,” his spokesman said. Sunday’s explosions mark the third time Israel has been accused of striking inside Syria this year. The blasts rocked a large military area in the suburbs of Syria’s capital, prompting terrified residents nearby to run for cover. “Everything kept exploding over and over again,” said Anna Deeb, whose family lives just over a mile away. “We could hear gunshots, we could hear people screaming. … We didn’t know what to do, and there was a problem with us breathing because the smoke was too much.” Syrian state-run TV claimed that the Israeli rocket attack on the research center aided rebels, who have been battling government forces in the region. And the government’s Syrian Arab News Agency said mortar shells “fired by terrorists” damaged residential neighborhoods nearby. But state media reports did not provide details about what type of research occurs in the facility, or how much damage occurred there after Sunday’s attack. Even with details about the explosion unclear, tensions ran high in the volatile region Sunday amid word of the reported attack, which was condemned by some officials across the Middle East. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad said the attack represented an alliance between Islamic terrorists and Israel. “When they attack, this is a declaration of war. This is not something that is (new),” al Mekdad said. “We dealt with this on several occasions, and we retaliated the way we wanted, and the retaliation was always painful to Israel, and they will suffer again.” After an emergency meeting of Syria’s Cabinet on Sunday, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said on state television that the attack””opens the door wide open for all possibilities” but did not specify what those possibilities would be. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby condemned what he called Israeli strikes on Syrian territories and called for the United Nations Security Council to “move immediately in order to stop and prevent Israeli attacks on Syria.” Foreign ministers in Egypt and Iran also condemned the reported Israeli attack. Ban’s spokesman said the U.N. secretary-general “calls on all sides to exercise maximum calm and restraint, and to act with a sense of responsibility to prevent an escalation of what is already a devastating and highly dangerous conflict.” Amid the heightened tensions, Israel appeared to be stepping up defense efforts. An Israeli Army official told CNN that two rocket interception batteries have been deployed to northern Israel. And the Israeli Airport Authority said Sunday that it had closed northern airspace over the country to civil aviation flights
Lava shoots hundreds of feet into the air above erupting volcano in Alaska... as budget cuts force observation stations in the region to close
A remote Alaskan volcano continues to erupt, spewing lava and ash clouds - highlighting concerns over the closure of geological observation centers in the area.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory said a continuous cloud of ash, steam and gas from Pavlof Volcano has been seen 20,000 feet above sea level.
John Power, the U.S. Geological Survey scientist in charge at the observatory, estimates the lava fountain rose several hundred feet into the air.
Spewing lava: Fiery red molten rock can be seen erupting from Pavlof volcano, observed here from Cold Bay
Seismic instruments are picking up constant tremors from the eruption at Pavlof, located about 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.
Residents of Cold Bay, 37 miles (60 kilometers) away, have reported seeing a glow from the summit.
Pavlof is among the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian arc, with nearly 40 known eruptions, according to the observatory. It comes as scientists monitoring Alaska's volcanoes are forced to shut down stations that provide real-time tracking of eruptions and forgo repairs of seismic equipment amid ongoing federal budget cuts - moves that could mean delays in getting vital information to airline pilots and emergency planners.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory can no longer seismically monitor five volcanoes with real-time equipment to detect imminent eruptions.
Such equipment is especially important in helping pilots receive up-to-the-minute warnings about spewing ash that can cause engine failures and other problems.
Under threat: Some Alaskan volcano observation units have had to be closed due to federal budget cuts. They often warn aircraft in the area of any possible dangerous ash clouds
Alaska has 52 active volcanoes, with many of them located on the Aleutians Islands along international air routes between Europe, North America and Asia.
A 3,00KM MOUNTAIN RANGE THAT IS CAPABLE OF ERUPTING AT ANY TIME
Pavlof Volcano is one of several dozen volcanoes that make up the Aleutian Arc.
The arc stretches across the Alaskan Peninsula in the south-west of Alaska to north-eastern Siberia, 3,000km away.
It follows the line where the pacific tectonic plate meets the North American plate.
Alaska Airlines officials said the observatory, funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, provides a crucial service, including early warnings of seismic changes that may portend an impending eruption.
Monitors need to be operating all the time, not just during major eruptions, said Betty Bollert, an Alaska Airlines dispatcher.
'I think the public gets kind of complacent when nothing exciting is happening and think, "Oh, why should we throw money at that?"' said Bollert, who was on duty in 1989 when the Redoubt Volcano blew 115 miles from Anchorage.
Following that eruption, several aircraft experienced damage from ash - including a Boeing 747-400 carrying 231 passengers that lost all four engines after flying into an ash cloud.
The plane dropped more than two miles in five minutes before the crew was able to restart the engines and land safely in Anchorage.
Worldwide, hundreds of flights are diverted each year because of volcanic activity. In 2010, an eruption in Iceland spread debris over Northern Europe, threatening most flight routes from the East Coast to Europe, and within Europe itself.
Early warning: The steam and the fresh lava flow could be seen on the north side of the volcano on Monday
Volcano: Pavlof is the second Alaska volcano to erupt this month. The Alaska volcano monitoring system, first created in 1988, is intended to help pilots avoid such problems.
But it has regressed over the past few years because of shrinking finances, and now the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration are further squeezing operations.
For example, gone is a plan to install seismic monitors at Cleveland Volcano, a remote mountain on an uninhabited island in the Aleutians.
The volcano experienced a low-level eruption earlier this month that continues to discharge steam, gas and heat, although no ash clouds have been detected in the past week.
'Because our budget has been declining for so long, we have no hope of actually addressing the Cleveland eruption in the way that it really should be,' said geophysicist John Power, the USGS scientist in charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
Pavlof Volcano, 625 miles from Anchorage, does have seismic instruments, which picked up tremors signaling a possible eruption. Satellite imagery also showed a lot of heat in the mountain.
Cloud: The volcano continued to pump out gas and steam on Tuesday - with the eruption still continuing Friday
In Alaska, 32 volcanoes once had 200 working seismic instruments. Now 80 of those instruments have fallen into disrepair and can't be fixed due to the USGS budget cuts.
That means five of those volcanoes aren't monitored electronically at all, and the number could rise if more instruments go without maintenance.
Cuts also have reduced the number of days helicopter crews can fly to repair equipment in remote locations, from 140 days in 2008 to 36.
The observatory still uses satellite data, infrasound and reports from pilots and others to detect eruptions. But none of those offer real-time information.
Sound waves were picked up the Cleveland eruption, but it took 40 minutes for the data to reach scientists in Anchorage, 940 miles northeast of the volcano.
These days, the observatory is operating on $4million annually, roughly half of its heyday budget.
Four other observatories in the U.S. - in Wyoming, California, Washington and Hawaii - also have faced cuts, leading to a reduction in lab research, studies of eruption histories and lava survey flights.
In Hawaii, lava flyovers of the Big Island's Kilauea volcano were reduced from once a week to once every two weeks.
It's still early in the federal downsizing process, and resources already are spread thin, said Tom Murray, chief of the five USGS observatories.
And while these types of cuts may not be immediately felt by the public - unlike the furloughs of air traffic controllers that caused flight delays nationwide - they are just as damaging, he said.
'The challenges with what we do is that it doesn't happen all the time,' he said. 'But when it does happen, then the ramifications can be very large.'
May 17, 2013 – OREGON – The Cascadia Subduction Zone runs along the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States to Vancouver Island in Canada. This major fault line is capable of producing megathrust earthquakes 9.0 or higher, though, due to a dearth of observations or historical records, this trait was only discovered within the last several decades from geology records. The 1700 Cascadia event was better documented in Japan than in the Americas. Records of the “orphan tsunami”—so named because its “parent” earthquake was too far away to be felt—gave earth scientists hints that this subduction zone was capable of such massive seismic activity. Geological studies provided information about the earthquake, but many critical details remained lost to history. “Previous research had determined the timing and the magnitude, but what we didn’t know was how the rupture happened,” says Benjamin Horton, associate professor and director of the Sea Level Research Laboratory in the department of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania. “Did it rupture in one big long segment, more than a thousand kilometers, or did it rupture in parcels?” To provide a clearer picture of how the earthquake occurred, Horton and his colleagues applied a technique they have used in assessing historic sea-level rise. The team traveled to various sites along the Cascadia subduction zone, taking core samples from up and down the coast and working with local researchers who donated pre-existing data sets. The researchers’ targets were microscopic fossils known as foraminifera. Through radiocarbon dating and an analysis of different species’ positions with the cores over time, the researchers were able to piece together a historical picture of the changes in land and sea level along the coastline. The research revealed how much the coast suddenly subsided during the earthquake, which infers how much the tectonic plates moved during the earthquake. “What we were able to show for the first time is that the rupture of Cascadia was heterogeneous, making it similar to what happened with the recent major earthquakes in Japan, Chile, and Sumatra,” Horton says. This level of regional detail for land level changes is critical for modeling and disaster planning. “It’s only when you have that data that you can start to build accurate models of earthquake ruptures and tsunami inundation,” Horton says. “There were areas of the west coast of the United States that were more susceptible to larger coastal subsidence than others.” The Cascadia subduction zone is of particular interest to geologists and coastal managers because geological evidence points to recurring seismic activity along the fault line, with intervals between 300 and 500 years. With the last major event occurring in 1700, another earthquake could be on the horizon. A better understanding of how such an event might unfold has the potential to save lives. “The next Cascadia earthquake has the potential to be the biggest natural disaster that the Unites States will have to come to terms with—far bigger than Sandy or even Katrina,” Horton says. “It would happen with very little warning; some areas of Oregon will have less than 20 minutes to evacuate before a large tsunami will inundate the coastline like in Sumatra in 2004 and Japan in 2011.” The National Science Foundation, the United States Geological Survey, and the University of Victoria funded the research.
Posted on May 7, 2013
May 7, 2013 – PHILIPPINES - One of the Philippines’ most active volcanoes spewed huge rocks and ash after daybreak Tuesday, killing at least five climbers and trapping more than a dozen others near the crater in its first eruption in three years, officials said. Rescue teams and helicopters were sent to Mayon volcano in the central Philippines to bring out the dead. At least seven were injured from a group of about 20 mountaineers who were caught by surprise by the sudden eruption, Albay provincial Gov. Joey Salceda said. Clouds have cleared over the volcano, which was quiet later in the morning. The climbers who died were struck by huge rocks, guide Kenneth Jesalva told ABS-CBN TV network by cell phone from a camp near the crater. They included a German, an Austrian and a Filipino. The injured included foreigners and Filipino guides. Some were in critical condition, said the chief of the national disaster agency, Eduardo del Rosario. Jesalva said he was in the group that spent the night on the picturesque mountain, known for its almost-perfect cone, when the volcano rumbled back to life early in the morning and rocks “as big as a living room” came raining down on them. He rushed back to the base camp to call for help. The head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Renato Solidum, said Tuesday’s eruption was normal for the restive Mayon, about 340 kilometers (212 miles) southeast of Manila. It has erupted about 40 times during the last 400 years. In 2010, thousands of residents moved to temporary shelters when the volcano ejected ash in an 8-kilometer (5-mile) zone surrounding the crater. Solidum said that no alert was raised for the volcano following the latest eruption and no evacuation was being planned. Climbers are not allowed when an alert is up, and the recent calm may have encouraged this week’s trek. –Yahoo News
Indonesia’s Lokon erupts: Another explosion occurred yesterday evening. It was heard in up to 6 km distance and incandescent bombs were ejected to 200 m distance from the Tompaluan crater. The eruption was preceded by an increase in seismic activity starting Saturday night, the local volcano observatory reported. An exclusion zone of 2.5 km radius from the volcano remains in place. –Volcano Discovery
Another Indonesian volcano awakening: Increased seismic activity was detected at the Papandayan volcano and VSI raised the alert level to 3 out of 4 (“Siaga, warning”) yesterday. Sudden phreatic explosions could occur with little warning at the volcano and present a significant hazard to visitors to the crater, which is a popular tourist site due to its varied, intense hydrothermal activity and colorful active fumaroles. The volcano last erupted in 2002. –Volcano Discovery5.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Fiji: A 5.8 magnitude earthquake violently struck the Fiji Islands within the last hour. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that 5.8 shake was 239km NNE of Ceva-i-Ra, Fiji and hit at approximately 10:10:55 UTC. According to the U.S.-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a destructive tsunami was not generated, based on earthquake and historical tsunami data. This is the first quake to hit the Fiji Islands since a 5.5 tremor was recorded on April 19, 2013. Though it was a strong earthquake reports suggest it was a safe distance from Suva, Fiji. A statement from the Mineral Resources Department’s Seismology Section explained that it was a medium-sized magnitude earthquake. The department said there was no felt report from the nearby places since the event source was very deep. In the past year, the Fiji Islands region has been hit with 112 earthquakes.Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano rumbles- unleashes 20,000 ft cloud of ash
Alaska’s Pavlof Volcano, during its famed 2007 eruption. Activity at the volcano appears to be increasing once again.
May 16, 2013 – ALASKA – Eruptions from Pavlof Volcano continued on Wednesday after rumbling to life earlier in the week. The 8,261-foot peak on the Alaska Peninsula awoke Monday morning, kicking off a “low-level eruption of lava,” according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). Sitting about 30 miles northeast of the community of King Cove, Pavlof is a frequently-active volcano that last erupted in 2007. The volcano’s rumbling has strengthened this week. At about noon Tuesday, satellite images showed a lava flow had coursed a third of a mile down the northern side of the volcano. By late Tuesday, an ash plume extended 15,000 feet above sea level, moving downwind to the northeast for up to 100 miles before dispersing. The National Weather Service issued a “Significant Meterological Event” warning, called a SIGMET, to alert pilots of hazardous conditions in the area. Pavlof continued to rumble Wednesday, with one pilot reporting a dark ash cloud reaching 20,000 feet. Residents of Cold Bay, located 37 miles southwest of the volcano, observed incandescent glow at the summit during the night. Pilot reports and photographs from yesterday afternoon indicate that the lava flow extending down the northwest flank is still active and has generated debris-laden flow deposits, presumably from interaction of hot lava with the snow and ice on the flank. Reports of possible eruptions from Pavlov date back to 1762, when historical accounts suggested an eruption in the area, though that activity may also have come from Pavlof Sister, another eruptive peak very close by. The most recent eruption at Pavlof, in 2007, featured spitting lava and small ash clouds during a month-long stretch of heightened activity. Unlike Mount Cleveland — a remote volcano located on a small Aleutian island and the only other volcano exhibiting activity in the Last Frontier at the moment — there is an extensive monitoring system set up at Pavlof due to its location and how often it’s active, including a webcam set up at Cold Bay. Meanwhile, Cleveland remains on orange alert following an ash explosion May 6. No further explosions have been recorded since then, but satellites still show elevated surface temperatures. –Alaska Dispatch
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May 15, 2013 – GEOLOGY – A flurry of earthquakes continues across the planet over the past 72 hours, showing few signs of abatement. Seismic tension continues to build across the Pacific Plate, the Cocos plate (Central America), and the Nazca plate, near South America. Tectonic plate agitation appears to be increasing, along with volcanic pressures under many of the world’s major volcanoes. -TEP
55th volcano erupts in Alaska: Scientists say small lava flows have been detected on two restless volcanoes in Alaska. The Alaska Volcano Observatory says satellite images Tuesday show the lava partly down a flank of Pavlof Volcano in a low-level eruption 625 miles southwest of Anchorage. Geophysicist Dave Schneider says minor steam and ash emissions are visible from the community of Cold Bay 37 miles away. Pavlof is the second Alaska volcano to erupt this month. Cleveland Volcano, on an uninhabited island in the Aleutian Islands, experienced a low-level eruption in early May. The observatory says analysis of satellite imagery shows a lava flow partly down a flank of the volcano. Ash plumes can be an aviation hazard, but no ash clouds have been detected from Cleveland Volcano in the past week.
May 15, 2013 – ALASKA - U.S. Forest Service Geologist Jim Baichtal, who is based on Prince of Wales Island, and Anchorage geologist Sue Karl were looking at some hydrographic surveys, something geologists tend to do. When we were done, I noticed the area from Thorne Arm to Rudyerd had been surveyed,” Baichtal said. “I zoomed in and there was this large… some kind of volcano, and two other dome-like structures.” Karl added that, “This new NOAA survey allowed us to see things that people had never seen before.” Karl said a modern example of a similar eruption is Surtsey, a volcanic island in Iceland, which erupted from the sea floor in the 1960s, building itself up and eventually breaching the surface to form the island. Karl points out that when the newly discovered volcano erupted, sea levels also were lower than they are now, but even with that, “We still have too much depth. We have to call on glacial loading and rebound.” “When you get a thousand feet of ice sitting on the ground, it is very heavy,” she explains. “It actually depresses the earth’s crust. After the glacier melts back, the earth will rebound.” Like a trampoline, or waterbed, but at a much slower pace. “So at one time, in Misty Fiords, there was close to 4,000 foot of ice on that site, so the weight of that ice at least pushed down (created) as high as 400 feet of displacement,” Baichtal added. So, in summary, the volcano erupted within the last 13,000 years, after the ice retreated, as the land was slowly bouncing back, and when sea levels were lower. They figured out most of this stuff just from examining the surveys. Volcanoes show up along faults in the earth’s crust, so when the fault moves enough to expose magma, that can lead to a volcanic eruption. Since faults don’t go away, volcanic eruptions in Southeast Alaska are possible in the future. “With the evidence that we have and the geologic age of the things that are there, there is no reason why it couldn’t,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.” But, Karl said people shouldn’t get anxious about it. “We have much better technology for detecting the initiation of one of these sorts of things now,” she said. “I don’t think people need to get too worried.” The newly discovered volcano is very close to New Eddystone Rock, which is what’s left over from another volcano, which may have erupted around the same time frame. They are both near the entrance to Misty Fiords National Monument.