Wednesday, October 31, 2007

5.6 Earthquake Hits Calaveras Fault

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 5.6 earthquake based in the Alum Rock area of San Jose hit at approximately 8:04 p.m. Bay residents as far away as Sacramento, Sonoma and Los Banos reported feeling the tremor.Glass shattered at the control tower at the Reid Hillview Airport in San Jose.Chopper11 flew over the tower and showed most of the glass missing. Workers were already hanging plastic sheets over the open tower by 9:30 p.m.The USGS reported at least 11 aftershocks, all measuring less than magnitude 2.1.USGS seismologist Steve Walter said the quake hit the Calaveras fault. They said it was the largest quake to hit the Calaveras fault since the 1984 Morgan Hill earthquake. That quake was a 6.2.There were also reports of things falling off store shelves at several grocery stores in San Jose.The quake was reported to be 5.5 miles deep, which is shallow in earthquake terms, NBC11 reported.Many people said the quake lasted around 20 seconds.The California Highway Patrol has received no reports of damage or injuries, spokesman Tom Marshall said.The quake was centered in the foothills east of San Jose, not far from the home of the city's mayor, Chuck Reed. He said the city hadn't received any reports of damage.Pictures fell off the walls of Reed's house, but the mayor said there was no major damage there."It was a pretty strong ride here, a lot of shaking but nothing broken,"Reed told The Associated Press in a phone interview from his home."I've talked to a few people and we have no reports of injuries or damage. There was a lot of shaking, but it wasn't the big one."Rod Foo, a resident of south San Jose, about 10 miles from the epicenter, said everything in his house shook for several seconds, but the electricity never went out and his telephone was still working."I could hear it coming up the street before it hit the house," said Foo, a former reporter with the San Jose Mercury News. "I thought it was the kids messing around at first, then I felt the house shaking and I knew it was an earthquake. ... It was rattling for a long time and really loud."Allison Guimard, 25, a technology executive who lives in Mountain View, about 18 miles west of the epicenter, said her china started shaking and she grabbed a dog. It was the first significant earthquake for she and her husband, Pierre, who moved here from New York six months ago."It felt like the apartment was rolling-shaking and rolling," said Pierre Guimard, 25, a home entertainment installer. "Almost like a boat on the water."A woman who lives in the Santa Teresa area, near Oakridge Mall said it shook her house. She said it felt like a hammer slammed into the house four times.That house had many frames on the wall that swayed and were left askew, but no damage.That woman's pool had a wake.
There were also reported of burst water pipes and some cracks in the walls in south San Jose.
NBC11 crews are following up on all the damage reports and will have complete wrap up on the NBC11 news at 11 p.m.Pacific Gas and Electric told NBC11 there were no power outages associated to the earthquake.A NBC11 viewer from Manteca said they felt like someone kicked the back of their couch and their fireplace tools started swaying.Their daughter in Stockton said her furniture actually moved with her in it by the shaking.The last major earthquake in Northern California-a magnitude-7.1-struck in October 1989 just before the third game of the World Series at Candlestick Park. The quake, centered in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the San Andreas fault, killed 62 people and caused nearly $3 billion in damage.Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the state would "will review and inspect all important infrastructure," including levees in the coming days.Earthquakes powerful enough to be felt through the Central Valley have been of increasing concern since Hurricane Katrina because of their potential to weaken the earthen levees that channel rivers throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.A San Jose State volleyball game against Pacific was postponed due to the earthquake.The school put out a news release that said just as Niki Clement put away her team-high 11th kill, the ground started to shake in Spartan Gym.After the magnitude earthquake rattled the two teams, spectators and officials, a decision was made to postpone the San Jose State-Pacific volleyball match with the Spartans leading 26-25 in game two. San Jose State won game one 30-26.Bay Area Rapid Transit trains were stopped for five minutes after the quake occurred, said BART spokesman Linton Johnson. Standard protocol for BART trains is to have the operators start running the trains again but only at half speed.The operators will drive slowly while looking out the window for damage on the tracks, said Johnson.Fire stations in San Francisco manually rolled up their garage doors as a precaution, NBC11 reported.

As in the days of Noah....


A moderate earthquake occurred at 8:04:54 PM (PDT) on Tuesday, October 30, 2007.The magnitude 5.6 event occurred 8 km (5 miles) NNE of Alum Rock, CA.The hypocentral depth is 9 km ( 6 miles).
5.6 - regional moment magnitude (Mw)
Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 8:04:54 PM (PDT)Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 3:04:54 (UTC)
Distance from
Alum Rock, CA - 8 km (5 miles) NNE (31 degrees)Milpitas, CA - 11 km (7 miles) E (91 degrees)San Jose City Hall, CA - 15 km (9 miles) NE (45 degrees)Sunol-Midtown, CA - 17 km (10 miles) NE (45 degrees)
37 deg. 25.9 min. N (37.432N), 121 deg. 46.5 min. W (121.776W)
9.2 km (5.7 miles)
Location Quality
Location Quality Parameters
Nst=250, Nph=250, Dmin=3 km, Rmss=0.07 sec, Erho=0.1 km, Erzz=0.3 km, Gp=32.4 degrees
As in the days of Noah.....

Powerful earthquake hits SPacific island

TOKYO - A powerful earthquake struck near the Marianas Islands in the South Pacific, Japan's weather agency said Wednesday, adding that there was no threat of a tsunami.The Meteorological Agency initially said the quake's magnitude was 7.5 but later revised it to 7.0 after analyzing the data. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude was 7.2.The quake struck about 12:30 p.m. and occurred at a depth of about 150 miles, the Meteorological Agency said.The agency said the temblor's epicenter was in the northernmost reaches of the island chain.The islands lie along the Pacific Basin's "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines where quakes are frequent.

As in the days of Noah....

Moderate quake shakes Northern Calif.

SAN JOSE, Calif. - {{{{The San Francisco Bay area's largest earthquake in nearly two decades rattled homes and nerves, but the magnitude-5.6 temblor caused no serious damage or injuries.}}}}Tuesday's tremor, centered about 9 miles northeast of San Jose, was the strongest to hit the Bay Area since October 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake caused 62 deaths and nearly $6 billion in damage.Though the latest quake was far less of a threat, its was widely felt within an 80-mile radius and reminded Nothern Californians of the eight major faults in the region capable of producing a significant shake.Scientists have projected that the Hayward Fault, which runs through a 50-mile swath of suburbia east of San Francisco, can produce a quake in the potentially lethal 6.7 to 7.0 range.But the latest temblor came from the lesser-known Calaveras Fault.Local and state authorities fielded a numbers of calls about gas leaks and broken water pipes, but little else related to the quake.The USGS reported about a dozen aftershocks, the biggest with a preliminary magnitude of 2.1.Historically, severe quakes have occurred on the Hayward every 151 years, give or take 23 years. The last one to hit was in 1868, meaning it is now into the danger zone.The Association of Bay Area Governments estimates a powerful Hayward quake would wipe out some 155,000 housing units, 37,000 in San Francisco alone.
Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the state "will review and inspect all important infrastructure," including California's fragile levees in the coming days.
The epicenter of Tuesday's quake was near Alum Rock, in the Diablo Range foothills east of San Jose — not far from the home of Mayor Chuck Reed. Pictures fell off the walls of Reed's house, but there was no major damage there, he said."It was a pretty strong ride here, a lot of shaking but nothing broken," Reed said. "I've talked to a few people and we have no reports of injuries or damage. There was a lot of shaking, but it wasn't the big one."Amrit Shergill, a night cashier at Alum Rock Shell gasoline station in San Jose, said only some small items toppled off a shelf when the shaking began at 8 p.m. — but the intensity sent her outside and crouching on the sidewalk."My God, I felt like running because the roof might come down on my head," Shergill said.Bay Area public transportation officials said Caltrain and Bay Area Rapid Transit trains halted for several minutes after the quake, then resumed at reduced speeds. There were no reports of injuries or damage to trains, officials said.In 2003, a magnitude-6.5 earthquake jolted the Central California coast, pitching an 1892 clock tower building onto the street and killing two people. In 2005, a magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck about 80 miles off the coast of Northern California, briefly prompting a tsunami warning from the Mexican border to British Columbia, but no damage or injuries were reported.

As in the days of Noah....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Experts Warn Indonesia's 'Child of Krakatoa' Volcano Near Eruption

JAKARTA, Indonesia-The Indonesian volcano known as the "Child of Krakatoa" spewed ash and smoke, prompting warnings of a possible eruption, a government volcanologist said Saturday.The mountain in the Sunda Strait, 80 miles west of Jakarta, formed after the giant Krakatoa eruption of 1883 that killed tens of thousands of people and was the largest explosion in recorded history."Activity at Anak Krakatoa increased yesterday and there were several small eruptions," said Surono, a leading government volcanologist who, like many Indonesians, uses one name. "We have upgraded the alert level to the second highest."Anak Krakatoa, which means "Child of Krakatoa," is the third volcano to become active in recent weeks in Indonesia, a sprawling nation of more than 17,000 islands. The country has about 150 volcanos along an arc of fault lines called the Pacific "Ring of Fire."Krakatoa's massive 1883 blast, heard nearly 2,000 miles away in Australia, sent pyroclastic surges of gas and burning ash which, combined with a tsunami, wiped out 165 villages and killed at least 36,417 people. It destroyed two thirds of the island of Krakatoa between Java and Sumatra.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tsunami Warning Lifted Following Indonesia Quake

JAKARTA, Indonesia-A powerful earthquake rocked western Indonesia before dawn Thursday, jolting people from their sleep and sending them fleeing by car and foot. Authorities briefly issued a tsunami warning, but the feared wave never came.The 7.1-magnitude quake struck 85 miles west of Bengkulu, a coastal town off Sumatra island, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It hit 18 miles beneath the ocean floor.Residents in Bengkulu — still nervous following a series of powerful quakes that struck the region last month — fled their homes, el-Shinta radio reported. Some jumped into cars or onto motorcycles.Suhardjono, a senior official at Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics Agency told el-Shinta the 4 a.m. quake was part of a series of aftershocks that have rattled the region since Sept. 12, when an 8.4-magnitude killed 23 people and destroyed thousands of buildings.Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago with a population of 235 million people, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.A magnitude-9 earthquake that hit off the coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, more than two-thirds of them in Indonesia.The Japan Meteorological Agency warned after Thursday's quake that there was a small chance it could trigger a destructive, local tsunami. Indonesian authorities lifted the tsunami warning after the threat had passed.

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Earthquake Hits Central California

RIDGECREST, Calif.-A dispatcher with the Ridgecrest Police Department says police there haven't received any reports of any damage or injuries after an earthquake with 4.3 magnitude was recorded in the area.The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit at 5:22 this morning about 15 miles north of Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest is about 127 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

As in the days of Noah....

Earthquake rocks western Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia-A powerful earthquake rocked western Indonesia early Thursday, sending panicked residents fleeing from their homes and briefly triggering a tsunami warning. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 and struck 135 kilometers (85 miles) west of Bengkulu, a coastal town off Sumatra island, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It hit 30 kilometers (18 miles) beneath the ocean floor.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Schools shut near rumbling Indonesian volcano

BLITAR, Indonesia-Indonesian authorities have closed dozens of schools around a simmering volcano on Java island in anticipation of a likely eruption, an official said Tuesday."We have asked that the schools be temporarily closed and that schooling be moved to temporary safe shelters," said Kamtono, a local government spokesman.The 1,731-metre (5,712-foot) Mount Kelut peak in densely-populated East Java was put on red alert last week following an escalation in seismic activity.About 130,000 people live in the 10-kilometre (six-mile) radius danger zone, but many have refused to leave or are only staying in shelters at night.Kamtono said that schooling for the some 10,000 students from the 49 affected schools would be held in shelters set up for the displaced.While the official advice is to evacuate, local governments have not acted to close businesses, markets or stop other activities in the zone.Gatot Subandi, who heads one of the emergency response teams, said that the temporary shelters were only full at night."Only the elderly, children and some women stay at the camps during the day. All able men and some women return to their homes in the daytime to guard their homes or tend to their fields," Subandi said.Some of the men also spend the nights guarding their homes, he added."They have all been told what to do in case of an eruption, including the path they have to take to flee," he added.Umar, a scientist at Kelut's observation post, said that volcanic activity was still occurring and the temperature of the water in the crater had risen further, all indications of an imminent eruption.Geologists expect that an eruption of Kelut would be comprised of "heat clouds", searing gases and volcanic debris rushing down the slopes, similar to the most recent eruption in 1990 that left 34 dead.Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.The archipelago nation is home to 129 active volcanoes, including 21 on Java.

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Evacuees await Indonesian volcano blast

MOUNT KELUD, Indonesia - The threat of eruption at Mount Kelud, one of Indonesia's deadliest volcanos, remains high despite a slowdown in activity in the past 24 hours, a government scientist said Monday.Frustration mounted among tens of thousands of villagers forced to flee Kelud's slopes.The alert level at the volcano was raised to its highest level a week ago following a series of powerful underground tremors and sharply rising temperatures in the lake of its crater, which has turned from turquoise to white as sulfur levels increased.But there has been no major activity since Sunday, said Surono, a senior government vulcanologist, making it all the more difficult to convince evacuees to remain in makeshift shelters near its base."We are still in a situation of high alert," he said, noting that Mount Kelud has a history of only large eruptions, never small. "Once it goes off, it will be big. This is why we keep reminding people they have to stay clear of the crater."The last eruption of Mount Kelud in 1990 killed more than 30 people and injured hundreds. In 1919, a powerful explosion that could be heard hundreds of miles away destroyed dozens of villages and killed at least 5,160.Authorities have ordered 116,000 people living along the volcano's fertile slopes to leave their homes, but more than 12,000 refused, saying they needed to tend to their crops and animals and protect against possible looting.Many of those forced to evacuate were losing patience — and income.Suyatno, who earns $1 a day picking cloves and coffee beans for a private plantation company, said he was eager to return to his village of Candi Sewu, three miles from Mount Kelud's peak."I can't wait any longer," said the 38-year-old father of three. "I have to work. I need money for my family."

As in the days of Noah....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Villages Evacuated on Indonesian Volcano

MOUNT KELUD, Indonesia-Tens of thousands of people were ordered by police-some at gunpoint-to leave their homes on the slopes of one of Indonesia's deadliest volcanoes Friday after a series of underground tremors heightened fears of an imminent eruption. Scientists raised the alert at Mount Kelud to the highest level earlier this week, pointing to sharply rising temperatures in the lake of its crater and violent rumbling beneath.There was an hour-long spike in the underground tremors and temperature on Friday when gas or magma tried to break through the crater lake, said Surono, a government volcanologist who goes by only one name. The activity then subsided."Anything could happen anytime now," he said, noting that a similar pattern emerged days before the last major eruption in 1990."I afraid pressure behind the magma will build up again and that next time it will explode."The 1990 eruption of Mount Kelud, located on Indonesia's densely populated island of Java, killed dozens. In 1919, a powerful explosion of the volcano destroyed dozens of villages and killed at least 5,160 people.Authorities ordered 116,000 people living along the volcano's fertile slopes to leave their homes Friday, but many have refused, saying they needed to tend to their crops and animals and protect against possible looting.Police forced many people to leave at gunpoint, calling the situation "critical.""If we didn't force them—in this case with a showing of firearms-the villagers would not budge," said police chief Col. Tjuk Basuki, adding that residents have been repeatedly warned about the danger. "We had no choice but to do this for their safety."Sidho, a farmer who goes by only one name, continued to work in his fields even though he was among those injured in the last major eruption in 1990."I was hiding under the table when stones started pouring into my house. Once, I got hit on my head," he recalled.Sugeng Walujo, a 37-year-old villager, also said he does not plan to leave. He, like many others, believes he will be protected if he follows the guidelines of an ancient myth."If I don't scream for help or turn on any lights, the lava and ashes will not reach my home," he said. "I'm not going anywhere."Many people who left the mountain were staying in temporary shelters along its base. Some held Islamic prayers in a tent Friday, where a preacher told them to remain calm and follow the advice of authorities.The U.N. said Friday that the World Health Organization has activated 100 medics, put 200 health facilities on alert and established 41 outreach health posts because of the volcano. Emergency health kits, masks and other equipment were distributed.At least five residents were hospitalized after breathing poisonous gases, said Palal Santoso, a government spokesman.Sally Kuhn Sennert, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program, said rising temperatures in the crater lake, an increase in the size and intensity of gas plumes, and a change in the ground tilt—all currently observed at Mount Kelud—indicate there might be an eruption, but they do not guarantee one."The temperature has fluctuated in the past without an eruption," she said.However, she added that Kelud has also erupted before without warning, indicating authorities were probably correct in taking precautions.Sennert said the presence of a crater lake at the volcano is of particular concern because "when magma interacts with water it's pretty explosive.""When you have a large water source like that, the eruption could breech the sides of the lake and release a huge volume of water," which would pick up ash and rock as it headed down the mountain, creating a giant mud flow, she said.Scientists have reduced the water level in the lake to minimize the danger, said Lee Siebert, director of the Smithsonian program. "There have been many fewer fatalities, so they've been successful, but it's still a volcano," he said.Indonesia, which has about 150 active volcanos spread across 17,500 islands, sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire"—a series of volcanos and fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

As in the days of Noah....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Indonesian volcano calms but scientist warns threat imminent

BLITAR, Indonesia-Indonesian scientists warned Thursday that an eruption was imminent at a smouldering volcano on Java island despite an apparent slowdown in seismic activity.Mount Kelut in East Java was put on top alert on Tuesday, meaning an eruption was possible within 24 hours, forcing the evacuation of about 116,000 people from the fertile plains surrounding the peak.The head of the monitoring post at the active volcano, Kristanto, said that some 151 shallow tremors were recorded on Wednesday, but just 36 had shaken the peak until 0500 GMT Thursday."But even though a reduction in volcanic activity has been recorded in the last few hours, we're now in fact in a dangerous situation ahead of an eruption," he warned.He told AFP that a similar slowdown had occurred three days ahead of Mount Kelut's eruption in 1990, when 34 people were killed.The volcanologist also said that the temperature of water in the volcano's 15-metre (-yard) deep crater had reached nearly 38 degrees Celsius. It was 40 degrees before the 1990 eruption, he said."The increasing temperature means that magma inside the volcano is rising to the surface, meaning that the eruption is imminent," he said.Villagers living in the declared danger zone-a 10-kilometre (six-mile) radius around the peak-insisted they were not in immediate danger.Women washed clothes in the Putih river nine kilometres south of the crater, including 35-year-old Umi, who said she was convinced an eruption would not occur soon."Even though Mount Kelut is on its highest alert, we still consider it safe," she told AFP.Local elders, believed to have good knowledge about the temperamental volcano, have told villagers not to worry, she said."We are not afraid as we feel that this time the volcano's eruption will not be as big as the one in the 1990s."Some villagers said they will not evacuate until told to do so by Mbah Ronggo, the 64-year-old spiritual leader and warden of the volcano."According to my spiritual visions, it is indeed time for the volcano to erupt-but not today (Thursday)," Ronggo told reporters.Health Ministry crisis centre chief Rustam Pakaya said that around 12,500 people lived within eight kilometres of the volcano's peak and another 80,000 lived up to 15 kilometres away.A few thousand more living further away were also leaving their homes at night for shelters, fearful of being caught in an eruption, but the majority of evacuees were heading home during the day, he said.Police chief of Kediri city, Basuki, told Elshinta radio that police may start to force people to leave their homes."We will give them a guarantee that police will patrol to guard their houses," he said. Residents in at least four villages said the springs supplying their water had largely dried up since activity at the peak had surged. Eruptions at the volcano, including the one in 1990, have tended to consist of pyroclastic flows or "heat clouds" of hot air and volcanic debris that rush down the slopes and burn everything in their paths. More than 15,000 lives have been claimed since record-keeping began of Mount Kelut's eruptions, including an estimated 10,000 in a catastrophic 1586 eruption.A 1919 eruption spewed heat clouds that killed 5,160 people.

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Mini-Earthquake Sets Off Predictions of a Larger One

The Patzael region in the central Jordan Valley, just 20 kilometers north of Jericho, was touched by a small earthquake on Saturday night, registering 3.0 on the Richter scale.A similar quake occurred in the same area two months ago.On Sunday morning, researchers at Tel Aviv University presented a new study on the timeline of earthquakes throughout history.No precise future earthquake dates can be extrapolated from the data, but the researchers say one is on the way-as no major quake has hit the danger area between the Dead Sea and the Kinneret in centuries."It's like the first winter rain," said Dr. Shmuel Marko, who took part in the study."The longer the dry summer lasts, the closer the first rain is.Here, as well: The quiet is worrisome.The longer we go without a large quake, the more we can expect one."On the other hand, experts have said that Israel's earthquakes are in general less frequent than those in other quake-prone regions such as California, Japan and Turkey.Israel is located along the Syria-Africa rift, a friction point between two subterranean plates and is therefore considered earthquake-prone.In 1927, some 250 people were killed in an earthquake that hit Jericho and central Israel.In November 1995, a 6.2 quake caused injuries to several people in Eilat.A minor quake, 5.0 on the Richter scale, hit Israel in February 2004, shaking buildings in many cities and even causing damage to the Knesset building.No one was reported hurt.The northern city of Tzfat was hit by two earthquakes in recent centuries, in 1759 and in 1837.The latter one killed at least 2,000 people, when residents were buried under the ruins of their homes and help did not arrive for days.
by Hillel Fendel
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Red Alert for Volcano Kelut in JAVA

On 10/17/2007 2:01:41 PM UTC a change occurred in the eruption status of Volcano Kelut in the very highly populated region of Indonesia in JAVA.
The GDACS alert indicates: Less than 100000 people within 100km or Volcano is dormant, normal seismic & fumarolic activity, or restless (alert level 0 or 1). More than 100000 people within 100km and volcano is in eruption or eruption may occur at any time (Alert levels 2, 3 and 4) More than 100000 people within 100km and significant eruption is occurring or explosive eruption is expected at any time (alert level 5).
Alert levels are taken from the South West Volcano Research Centre.
The Volcano is in JAVA, 85km from the city of Surabaja. The nearest populated places are Kandangan (20km), Wonoredjo (15km), Djombok (13km), Pudjon (19km), Djengkol (19km), Wates (20km), Tulungredjo (7km), Bambingan (5km).
It is a mountainous region with a maximum altitude of 3631 m.
Getting there and away
The nearest civilian airport (Abdulrachman Saleh) is at 44km from the epicenter. See the map for more details.
The estimated geographical coordinates of the Volcano are: 7.93 South and 112.31 East.
Potentially affected People
The population in the area of this volcano is 1102 people/km².
The volcano event occurred at 21h local time. At this time a day, more people are at home and therefore more vulnerable to collapsing residential buildings. During traffic hours, people can be affected by collapsing bridges and other road infrastructure.
As in the days of Noah....

Indonesians ignore warnings of imminent volcano eruption

BLITAR,Indonesia-Scores of evacuated villagers ignored mounting warnings of an imminent eruption and returned to their homes on the slopes of an active volcano on Indonesia's Java island Wednesday.Others refused to leave their homes despite the alert status of Mount Kelut in East Java province being raised to the highest level with the likelihood of an eruption within 24 hours, officials said.The head of the Mount Kelut monitoring post, Kristanto, told AFP: "Shallow tremors are being detected meaning the possibility of an eruption remains high." Thousands of residents from within a 10-kilometre (6-mile) radius of the crater were evacuated on Tuesday night.Health Ministry crisis centre chief Rustam Pakaya said 116,300 people were evacuated from Blitar and Kediri districts since Tuesday evening.However, some villagers have ignored the evacuation call, opting to stay behind to guard their belongings, while others returned home.Disaster management officer Gatot Subandi told AFP that "around 1,000 people were evacuated at midnight, but some of the men returned to their homes this morning and we can't force them to stay."Some older people who are familiar with the volcano's behaviour believe that it's not time for it to erupt."Local resident Sutarmin told news website he felt uneasy waiting in the evacuation shelter while his goats remained alone in the village.Evacuation drills have been conducted in at least nine villages near Mount Kelut over the past week."There have been no problems so far with the evacuation and facilities for residents but if the volcano erupts then the unpredictable direction of the lava will be what we have to be aware of," Subandi said.An official at the volcanology office said signs of an imminent eruption were much stronger than in the lead-up to the last eruption of the 1,731-metre (5,712 foot) volcano in 1990.An estimated 15,000 people have been killed by the volcano in the last 500 years, including around 10,000 in a 1568 eruption.Although Mount Kelut's slopes are sparsely inhabited, the plain in the shadow of the volcano is densely populated.The peak is also a popular destination with tourists.

As in the days of Noah

Indonesian Villagers Defy Volcano Warnings

MOUNT KELUD, Indonesia-Hundreds of villagers defied warnings of a major eruption at one of Indonesia's deadliest volcanos, leaving refugee centers Wednesday and returning to homes along its slopes to tend to crops and animals.Mount Kelud, which has been showing signs of increased activity for several weeks, was placed on the highest alert level late Tuesday, meaning scientists believe an eruption may be imminent.The 5,679-foot volcano last erupted in 1990, killing dozens. In 1919, a powerful explosion destroyed a hundred villages and claimed 5,160 lives.Local authorities began mandatory evacuations of around 30,000 people living within six miles of the peak late Tuesday, mostly women, children and the elderly. Many men refused to leave, according to an Associated Press reporter on the mountain.On Wednesday morning, hundreds of people left temporary evacuation camps in rented trucks and returned to their villages, complaining they had received no food and saying they must tend crops."There was no food at all," said Darmiashiah, a 33-year-old woman who returned to the village of Sukiwaras, well within in the evacuation zone. "If I get told to leave again, I will not go," said Darmiashiah, who goes by a single name.Unlike some volcanos, Mount Kelud does not smoke or rumble."It never shows its true nature," said government volcanologist Surono, who goes by a single name. "It is better to raise the status than see people killed."Kelud, on Java island about 385 miles east of the capital, Jakarta, is one of the most active of Indonesia's estimated 150 active volcanoes. The country sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire-a series of volcanos and fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

As in the days of Noah....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Indonesian volcano poised to erupt

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesian authorities on Tuesday ordered the evacuation of nearly 30,000 people from the rumbling slopes of Mount Kelud, warning of an imminent eruption from the volcano that killed thousands in 1990.All people living within six miles of the 5,679-foot peak must evacuate, and authorities began transporting some out of the danger zone, said Surono, a top scientist at the government-run volcanology center who uses only one name.Kelud has been rumbling for weeks, and it was placed on the highest alert level, meaning scientists believe a major eruption is imminent, according to the center's Web site.One of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, it last erupted in 1990, destroying about 100 villages and killing 5,160 people. It is located on Java island, about 385 miles east of the capital, Jakarta,The volcano's explosive activity typically starts with a steam explosion-when surfacing magma meets ground water. Such eruptions produce hot mud flows, pyroclastic surges and flows.Evacuation orders at Indonesian volcanoes are often haphazardly enforced. Without compensating farmers for loses to crops or livestock, it is difficult to force them to leave their villages. Another worry for homeowners is thieves targeting empty properties.Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire"-a series of volcanoes and fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hawaii scientists examine volcanic rocks

HONOLULU - Scientists are studying whether a submerged extinct volcano may sit to the south of Kauai, a would-be sister island to the GThey're testing the theory by examining 363 volcanic rocks recently collected from the sea floor around Kauai, Niihau and Kaula islands and Middle Bank.Garrett Apuzen-Ito, a University of Hawaii geophysicist who co-led a research voyage to the spot, says the area south of Kauai has long been assumed to be a massive underwater landslide that came from Kauai.The researchers used an unmanned robotic vehicle owned by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to collect volcanic rocks, photos and video as deep as 14,000 feet underwater.They used multibeam sonar and acoustic imagery to map the sea floor.
Information from:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin,

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pakistan quake recovery seen as success

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Two years after the earthquake that killed 80,000 people in the mountains of northern Pakistan, survivors struggle with landslides and sky-high prices to rebuild, but virtually all will have adequate shelter this winter. The mammoth effort to reconstruct homes and amenities for 3.5 million people has been lauded by international donors as a model response to a massive natural disaster.Some 210,000 quake-resistant homes have been rebuilt and another 350,000 are under construction across the rugged terrain of Kashmir and North West Frontier Province, now dotted with new corrugated iron roofs and other signs of building activity.There have been setbacks. Monsoon rains slowed work and some international aid groups were briefly evacuated this summer when tribesmen in the quake zone destroyed their offices to display their anger over the deadly Pakistan army raid on Islamabad's Red Mosque.But now only 6,000 quake victims are left sheltering in tents, easing once dire fears of a humanitarian crisis in the harsh Himalayan winter that usually sets in by December."There will be no problem whatsoever this winter. The whole area has changed," said Lt. Gen. Nadeem Ahmed, deputy chairman of Pakistan's Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority. He hoped that most houses would be finished by year's end.The magnitude 7.6 quake struck on the morning of Oct. 8, 2005, crushing residents in their mud-and-stone rural homes and thousands of children inside poorly built schools.A vast international relief effort, backed by Pakistan's army, staved off more deaths in the months that followed.The challenges of the $4.3 billion campaign to rebuild were, and remain, enormous: to construct 6,500 schools, 800 clinics and hospitals and repair 4,000 miles of roads; to cater for thousands of orphans, widows and hundreds of amputees and others disabled by their injuries.Ahmed said donors have made good on their funding commitments and Pakistan is in a position to rebuild back better, although for now, many schools and clinics are in prefabricated structures. He predicted that most reconstruction would be complete within three years.He said the two worst-hit towns, Muzaffarabad and Balakot, were being relocated.Survivors, recovering slowly from a disaster in which virtually everone lost at least one family member, are more pessimistic.Many complain about inflation in the cost of building materials and transportation and say that life in the harsh yet idyllic mountains of Kashmir — a disputed territory that is divided between Pakistan and India — will never be the same."It will take many years to return my village and my home to the condition they were before the earthquake," said Mohammed Ayub, a 35-year old electrician as he received the last installment of the $2,900 grant from the government to rebuild his house.His elder sister was killed and his father was injured in the temblor at their home village of Hariala Gujrian, about 22 miles southeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. He said it would cost $8,300 to rebuild their house and plans to work in the United Arab Emirates to raise money for his family.The minister for rehabilitation and reconstruction in Pakistani Kashmir, Naseem Khan, said the vast scale of the disaster meant it would take time to recover, but said progress was promising."So far 70 percent of quake survivors have started the reconstruction of their houses in rural areas, and 98 percent of survivors have a roof over their heads," he said.Among the unlucky ones is Mohammed Zamir, 38, father of five living in Thotha village, 12 miles from Muzaffarabad.His family has suffered from the recurrent landslides that have always been a problem in this mountainous region but have worsened since the quake destabilized the terrain further."Our land was damaged by landslides triggered by the earthquake and now we are living in tents on rented land," Zamir said. "NGOs gave us iron sheets to build a shelter, but we have nowhere to build it."

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Friday, October 5, 2007

The Next Great Earthquake

Science Daily-The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and resulting tsunami are now infamous for the damage they caused, but at the time many scientists believed this area was unlikely to create a quake of such magnitude. In the March 23 issue of the journal Science, a geophysicist from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute urges the public and policy makers to consider all subduction-type tectonic boundaries to be "locked, loaded, and dangerous." "Seismologists have long tried to determine which subduction boundaries are more likely than others to break," says Robert McCaffrey, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Rensselaer. "Yet, the great earthquake of 2004 ruptured a segment that was thought to be among the least likely to go."On Dec. 26, 2004, the earth beneath the Indian Ocean buckled and ruptured, unleashing one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history. Shockwaves from the magnitude 9.2 (M9) quake created a wall of rushing water that devastated communities up to 1,000 miles away.M9 earthquakes typically occur at a specific type of tectonic boundary called a subduction zone, where one plate is gently slipping underneath another plate, which causes friction, cracking, and lifting of the plates. An M9 earthquake can be created by only 20 meters of slip between two converging plates-less then the length of an 18-wheeler truck-but its effects can be global in their impact.Slips of this length only occur every 200 to 1,000 years or more at a particular boundary, leaving no reliable historic records to track their frequency, McCaffrey notes. Complete records are only available going back 100 years. Scientists had widely accepted that the age and speed of the subducting plate is important in creating M9 earthquakes, based primarily on support from this 100-year historical record. But this narrow understanding put the Sumatran subduction zone in a very low risk category. McCaffrey suggests that such limited records are incapable of mapping a trend in geological events th3/19/2007at could be several centuries or more apart.Geologists also focused on the temperature of subduction zones, indicating that temperature at the plate convergence region plays a strong role in the strength of a resulting earthquake. These thermal considerations place the Andaman subduction zone in the high-magnitude class, but one pitfall with this type of classification is that it characterizes some subduction zones as being incapable of producing an M9."[The day of the quake], Earth gave us a stark reminder of the important difference between improbability and impossibility," McCaffrey says. "Our understanding of where and when the next great earthquake will happen is in its infancy at best. We have not had enough time to decipher M9 behavior."In creating new public policy, McCaffrey urges officials to consider all subduction zones as lethal."Several are near densely populated land areas, and the potential impacts of shaking and tsunamis cannot be overstated," he says.When crafting warning systems, policy makers should always remember that an earthquake even hundreds of miles removed can create a tsunami capable of widespread destruction, McCaffrey says. Therefore warning systems need to be created with input and support from many countries, in addition to educational outreach to coastal communities."These systems need to be strong and they need to be maintained over the long term because we have no way of knowing when the next great earthquake will hit," he says."We can never forget what happened," McCaffrey continues."Now is the time to use the knowledge that we have gained and work to save lives should another M9 hit tomorrow or hundreds of years from now. Many didn't know about tsunamis before the quake; we must make sure that now they never fail to remember their destructive force."

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Two small earthquakes shake East Bay; cause minor BART delays

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that two earthquakes struck this morning near Oakland. According to the USGS, the first earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 2.9 and struck at 4:09 a.m. The quake was centered about one mile northeast of Hayward and 13 miles southeast of Oakland.A Bay Area Rapid Transit dispatcher said routine safety procedure followed the first earthquake and forced eight trains to experience minor delays.The second quake occurred at 4:58 a.m. and had a preliminary magnitude of 2.5, according to the USGS. The earthquake was centered about three miles northeast of San Leandro and six miles southeast of Oakland.There have been no immediate reports of injuries or damage as a result of the earthquakes, an Oakland police dispatcher said.
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Indonesia hit by strong quakes, no tsunamis

JAKARTA-Two undersea earthquakes over miles 2,500 km (1,500 miles) apart and measuring up to 6.3 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia on Thursday, but no tsunami warnings were triggered, seismologists said. The first quake in northern Aceh province was rated by the national meteorological agency at a magnitude 6.3 on the Richter scale although the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported it at 6.0.There were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties after the quake, the epicentre of which lay at a depth of 10 km around 367 km southwest of Sinabang.Hours later, another earthquake measuring between 5.6 and 5.8 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia's Lombok island, 190 km miles east of Bali and close to the eastern end of the sprawling archipelago.The USGS said the epicentre was 152 km northeast of Mataram and was very shallow at 13.5 km deep.There were no reports of damage after the tremors, which were also felt in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, a meteorological agency official said.Indonesia is situated along a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire". Aceh was hit by a huge earthquake registering at least 9.0 on the Richter scale in December 2004, triggering a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed more than 230,000 people in the region, including 170,000 Indonesians.Last month a strong earthquake jolted Sumatra in the north that was followed by a series of aftershocks, killing 25 people and damaging some 80,000 buildings.Since last month's earthquake, the Sumatra area has been hit by a series of quakes and strong aftershocks, setting off tsunami warnings in Indonesia and other countries in the region.

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Moderate quake rocks central New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook central New Zealand Thursday, rocking homes across a wide area, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage, emergency services said.The quake hit at 8:15 a.m. Thursday and was located in the north of South Island, about 100 miles from the southern city of Christchurch, geological sciences agency, GNS Science, reported on its web site.It said the tremblor was "widely felt in South Island" and also lightly rocked the capital, Wellington and southern North Island.New Zealand sits above an area of the earth's crust where the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates are colliding and records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year — but only about 150 are felt by residents. Fewer than 10 a year do any damage.

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Tents, vehicles readied for feared Indonesian volcanic eruption

Indonesian officials and volunteers pitched tents and assembled evacuation vehicles Friday amid fears that a volcano in densely populated East Java could soon erupt, local officials there said."We are setting up a number of tents in Karang Rejo village located some 10 kilometres (six miles) from the crater in case of eruption," local official Tri Setyoko told AFP.Setyoko added that more than 30 off-road vehicles were also ready to evacuate residents if activity at simmering Mount Kelut escalated further.Residents were advised last Sunday to maintain a five-kilometre safety zone around the 1,731-metre (5,712-feet) peak and told to prepare to evacuate at the first sign of any eruption.Evacuation drills were held in the area on Thursday.Agung Budianto, a volcanologist monitoring Mount Kelut, said a minor volcanic tremor early Friday indicated that magma was starting to push towards the crater's surface, but it was not a significant shift yet, he said.Based on current conditions, the volcanology office would maintain its current alert at the third of a four-tier system, he added.A fourth tier alert means an eruption could be imminent.Mount Kelut last blew in 1990. The volcano has claimed more than 15,000 lives since 1500, including around 10,000 when it erupted in 1568.Although its immediate slopes are sparsely inhabited, the peak is a popular domestic tourist destination and it is located on a heavily populated plain.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Search for survivors of Yemen volcano eruption called off

SANAA,Yemen-The search by Canadian and other NATO sailors for survivors of a volcanic eruption on an island in the Red Sea has been called off. Ken Allen, a spokesman for the Canadian navy says the search ended shortly after noon local time today.The crew of the Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto managed to pull one survivor out of the water, along with two bodies.But Allen says a vigorous search of an area north of the island of Jabal al-Tair found no other bodies.He says two Yemeni military personnel who were stationed on the island are missing and presumed dead.HMCS Toronto, based in Halifax, was in the area with a NATO fleet when the eruption began Sunday evening.It has since sailed on with the NATO fleet toward the Mediterranean Sea.

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Red Sea volcano erupts for third straight day

HODEIDA,Yemen-A volcano on a Yemeni island in the Red Sea was spewing a deadly mix of lava and ash for the third straight day on Tuesday, after erupting for the first time since the 19th century. Yemeni authorities said three soliders had been killed during the eruption on the island of Jabal al-Tair, home to a garrison of 50 soldiers, and that five others were missing.
The garrison had been evacuated after the eruption of the 1,200 metre-high (3,937 feet) volcano, which began on Sunday at 12:00 noon (1000 GMT).The bodies of the three soldiers were recovered from the sea, while a fourth had been located alive, military official Abdel Bari Shamsan was quoted as saying by the official Saba news agency.Shamsan was speaking in the port city of Hodeida, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the island.An initial toll on Monday put the dead at six.A Yemeni coast guard official told AFP the volcano remained active on Tuesday, releasing lava, ash and black smoke high into the air.A team of volcanologists dispatched to the area reported that the eruption produced one kilometre (0.6 mile) long lava flows and blackened the water within a 9.7 kilometre (six mile) radius of the island.The eruption sparked a sea search by NATO warships passing through the area on their way to the Suez Canal, after a request from the Yemeni coastguard.At first light on Tuesday, NATO and Yemeni naval vessels restarted their search for the missing soldiers.A coast guard official told AFP that maritime movement was not hampered by the eruption, as major shipping routes in the area were located at least 13 kilometres (eight miles) from the island.There had been considerable seismic activity around the island ahead of the eruption, the Yemeni defence ministry said on its website. It said an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale had been recorded on Friday.The island has been garrisoned by the Yemeni authorities since the 1990s when a longstanding territorial dispute with Eritrea over the ownership of a series of islands in the Red Sea erupted into armed clashes.The Permanent Court of Arbritration in The Hague eventually found in Yemen's favour and awarded it sovereignty over the islands.Yemen lies on the Arabian Peninsula and is one of the world's most impoverished states.

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Tsunami warning lifted as Sumatra quake sows panic

JAKARTA-A 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia's Sumatra island on Tuesday, but there were no reports of casualties or damage and a tsunami warning issued after the powerful undersea tremor was withdrawn. The tremors sowed panic in the same area where a strong earthquake and series of aftershocks killed 25 people and damaged some 80,000 buildings last month.The epicenter of Tuesday's quake lay at a depth of 20 km (12 miles), about 160 km (100 miles) southwest of Lais district in Bengkulu province, the meteorology agency said in a text message."It was quite strong. People panicked because they are still traumatized by the previous earthquakes. All of us ran out of the building," said Evi Nurhidayati, a police officer in Bengkulu.Fauzi, the head of the seismology division at the meteorology agency, said buildings whose structure had been weakened by last month's quake could collapse because of the latest tremors."Even though today's quake was not really big, houses are vulnerable and we are worried about that," he said.Since last month's earthquake, the area has been hit by a series of quakes and strong aftershocks, setting off tsunami warnings in Indonesia and other countries in the region.Indonesia, which is situated along a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire," was hit by a huge earthquake in December 2004, triggering a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed more than 230,000 people in the region, including 170,000 Indonesians.

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Indonesia's Sumatra hit by quake

JAKARTA-Indonesia's meteorology agency said on Tuesday that an undersea earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale had hit southwestern Sumatra. The agency issued a tsunami warning.

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Volcano erupts off Yemen, 8 soldiers killed

SANAA-At least eight Yemeni soldiers were killed in a volcanic eruption on an island off the country's Red Sea Coast, the government said on Monday. The volcano erupted late on Sunday, spewing lava hundreds of meters into the air. Officials said earlier nine soldiers were missing.
"At least eight are regarded as dead now," a government official told Reuters.The eruption occurred on Jabal al-Tair, an island about 80 miles from Yemen.Yemen has had a military base on the island since its 1996 conflict with Eritrea over the nearby islands of Hanish and Jabal Zuqar.Al-Arabiya television quoted witnesses as saying the island was engulfed in fire then disappeared."At least 49 soldiers were evacuated from the island," the television said, according to the witnesses. Yemeni officials were not available to confirm the report.A Defense Ministry official said the western part of the island had "collapsed" following the eruption. He said naval ships were searching the surrounding waters for nine missing Yemeni soldiers who were stationed on the island.Yemen's Oil Minister Khaled Mahfoudh Bahah said several earthquakes felt on Sunday had triggered the eruption. "Three earthquakes struck the island around 1127 GMT on Sunday, and were ranging between 4.3 and 4 on the Richter scale," Jamal al-Shalaan, head of the Yemeni Earthquake Centre told the state news agency Saba.President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who flew to nearby Hudaidah port late on Sunday to observe the situation, told the Yemeni navy to send rescue teams, Saba reported.The Canadian frigate Toronto was conducting a search and rescue operation at the request of the Yemeni coast guard. The NATO fleet was sailing north towards the Suez Canal at the time of the eruption, the Canadian navy said in a statement.It said it was trying to locate nine people believed to be at sea in the area.Navy spokesman Ken Allen told the Canadian Press news agency that lava was spewing hundreds of meters into the air, with volcanic ash also rising 300 meters.In an email from on board the ship, he said the entire two-mile-long (three-km-long) island was aglow with lava and pouring into the sea.A Yemeni geologist said the volcano had previously erupted in the 19th and 18th centuries, Saba said.

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Tokyo eyes readiness for big quake

TOKYO-Scientifically, it's almost a sure thing-Tokyo is awaiting a catastrophic earthquake. In fact, it's long overdue. And when it does hit, officials say, there is one other thing that is a near certainty-hundreds of thousands of people will be in need of shelter that the government will not be able to provide. Studies show as many as 3 million will be homeless, some 600,000 more than shelters can now handle.But with little space for new facilities, the city is hoping to cut down those numbers-and the number of deaths and injuries-by providing residents with the world's first wide-scale earthquake prediction system, which became operational on Monday.The city is hoping that, with its extremely high population density and little space available to build new shelters, giving residents more information and even a slight heads up will cut down on confusion, mitigate the secondary damage caused by fires and encourage them to plan ahead for how to cope and where to go.The new warning system uses data provided by the Meteorological Agency, which maintains an intricate network of sensors deep underground nationwide that estimate the intensity of a quake as soon as the ground ruptures.The system works by detecting primary waves, which spread from the epicenter of a quake and travel faster than the destructive shear waves. When primary waves of a certain intensity are detected, the alarms are set off as much as 30 seconds ahead of the shear waves. Public broadcaster NHK will relay the warning almost instantaneously to its television and radio audience.The alert system was launched at 9 a.m. Monday at the Japan Meteorological Agency, said Akiko Takahashi, an agency spokeswoman. Transport Ministers Tetsuzo Fuyushiba attended a ceremony at the agency, where he turned on the switch to launch the system.The alert will be broadcast on NHK's television and radio, as well as major network TV stations in Tokyo, she said. So far there have been no troubles reported, Takahashi said.
The system is not perfect.
It can be flummoxed by lightning or other interference, and won't work for areas directly above the ruptured fault because the two waves it detects are nearly simultaneous. Residents who are not watching television or listening to the radio when an alert goes out will not hear it.Still, the agency says the system already helped it issue a tsunami alert for a magnitude-6.9 earthquake in northern Japan in March two minutes faster than its old early warning system would have. The agency was also able to put out a warning ahead of July's magnitude-6.8 quake.Otherwise, the city's options are limited."We've been aware that there could be shelter problems if the worst-case scenario comes true," said Cabinet Office Disaster Management official Natsuo Ito. "The lack of space is extreme."Tokyo is rattled by dozens of mild to moderate tremors each year.But every 70 years or so, the fault line under Tokyo produces a catastrophic earthquake — and the city, scientists say, is long overdue. The last big one hit Sept. 1, 1923, with a magnitude of 8.3 and killed more than 140,000 people.In the worst-case scenario, as many as 7,800 people could die and Japan could suffer about $974 billion in economic damage, according to government estimates. Stricter building codes since a 1995 quake flattened much of the city of Kobe, along with heightened readiness since the 1923 quake are behind the lower death estimates. But critics have also said that the estimate is low, and reflects government optimism.
According to a 2005 study, about 3 million of Tokyo's 12.5 million residents may also be forced to look for emergency shelters. But a Cabinet Office survey of the local governments that make up Tokyo completed in July found as many as 600,000 people could find themselves turned away for lack of space.Part of the problem, Ito said, is not knowing how well the designated shelters-mostly schools and auditoriums-will hold up after a major earthquake."Local authorities have the responsibility for designating and maintaining the facilities to be used as emergency shelters," said Tokyo metropolitan government official Hiroyuki Akagi."We can offer some guidance and support, but the local authorities have to take the initiative."The number of people searching for space could also be cut to as low as 490,000 if evacuees are directed or find their way to shelters not in their neighborhood.

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Island ripped apart by massive volcano eruption

A massive volcano eruption triggered by an earthquake has ripped apart a tiny island in the Red Sea.Terrified witnesses reported lava spewing hundreds of yards into the air with plumes of volcanic ash also rising from the site.Officials said today that part of Jazirt Mount al-Tair, which is about 80 miles from Yemen, had collapsed after the eruption at around 5.30pm on Sunday. A huge rescue operation was still underway for survivors with at least four soldiers reported dead and another five still missing.Squadroons of troops, who are based on the Red Sea island, had to be evacuated to the port city of Hodeida in the immediate aftermath.One said: "Four of our comrades have died, burned by the lava.Another added: "They were killed immediately after the eruption of the volcano at 5:30 pm on Sunday."The Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto had been sailing towards the Suez Canal and was called in to help. On Sunday evening, Canadian Navy spokesman Ken Allen told reporters in an e-mail that the entire island was "aglow with lava and magma as it pours down into the sea."The lava is spewing hundreds of feet into the air, with the volcanic ash also 1,000 feet in the air."The Yemeni defence ministry said that there had been considerable seismic activity around the island ahead of the eruption, adding that an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale had been recorded on Friday.The volcano last erupted in the 19th century.Search and rescue teams, alongside the Canadian navy, were still hunting for survivors today.

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