Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Earthquake rattles East Timor

DILI, East Timor - A strong earthquake struck off the coast of East Timor on Wednesday, prompting authorities to briefly issue a tsunami alert-but no large waves hit the tiny nation's coast.The 6.2 magnitude tremor struck 160 miles northeast of the capital, Dili, in Indonesia's Banda Sea at a depth of 6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Residents in the capital did not feel any shaking and there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.Indonesia's Meteorological and Geophysics agency issued a tsunami alert, saying the quake had been powerful enough to generate giant waves. The warning was later retracted.East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that became Asia's youngest country after breaking from Indonesia in 1999, sits along a series of faultlines and volcanos known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.In December 2004, a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries, including 160,000 people in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Surprise found in Earth’s plumbing system:Tiny earthquakes used to make first images of the inside of a deep sea vent

Seismologists have used tiny earthquakes to make the first images of the inside of a deep sea vent — and it doesn’t look like anyone thought it would.Sea floor vents (often called "black smokers" because of the cloud of chemicals they ooze) are the outflow channels of vast plumbing systems that exist under the Earth's mid-ocean ridges, which run across some 37,000 miles (60,000 kilometers) of the seafloor. Hydrothermal vents are found all over the globe. The hypothetical image scientists had drawn of these vent systems had cold, deep-ocean water being forced down by overlying pressure through large faults along the ridges. The water was then thought to be superheated by shallow volcanism, eventually rising toward the middle of the ridges where the vents tend to be clustered.But the new images, detailed in a study in the Jan. 10 issue of the journal Nature, paint a different picture: Ocean water appears to descend through tiny cracks in the ridge, instead of large faults, then runs below the ridge along its axis in a tunnel-like zone just above a magma chamber for several kilometers. As the water gets heated, it rises back to the sea floor (like a pot of boiling water) and bubbles out through a series of vents."If you google on images of hydrothermal vents, you come up with cartoons that don't at all match what we see," said lead study author Maya Tolstoy of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a part of Columbia University.The new images of the vent system, taken along the East Pacific Rise about 565 miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico, were created using seismometers that recorded 7,000 tiny, shallow earthquakes over the course of seven months in 2003 and 2004.The quakes are thought to be the result of cold water passing through the hot rocks below the surface and picking up their heat, causing the rocks to cool and shrink, and therefore crack and create small tremors. The new model also suggests that the water moves a lot faster than previously thought — perhaps a billion gallons per year flows through the particular system studied.The findings could help scientists determine how the thriving communities around these vents travel along seafloor currents and how the nutrients that feed them flow.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One killed as quake hits Sumatra

JAKARTA, Indonesia-A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island early Wednesday, killing one person and injuring five, officials said.The quake struck at 12:15 a.m. local time (17:15 GMT), about 15 miles (24 km)west of Nias island, according to the Meteorological and Geophysics Agency. It was centered about six miles beneath the Indian ocean.One person was killed and five injured on Nias Island, said Rustam Pakaya, head of Indonesia's Health Department Crisis Center.Indonesia, which straddles a series of active fault lines, is prone to seismic and volcanic activity. A giant earthquake along the same coast spawned the large tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a number of countries in December 2004.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Massive volcano exploded under Antarctic icesheet, study finds

PARIS-[[[A powerful volcano erupted under the icesheet of West Antarctica around 2,000 years ago and it might still be active today, a finding that prompts questions about ice loss from the white continent,]]]British scientists report on Sunday.The explosive event-rated "severe" to "cataclysmic" on an international scale of volcanic force-punched a massive breach in the icesheet and spat out a plume some 12,000 metres (eight miles) into the sky, they calculate.Most of Antarctica is seismically stable. But its western part lies on a rift in Earth's crust that gives rise to occasional volcanism and geothermal heat, occurring on the Antarctic coastal margins.This is the first evidence for an eruption under the ice sheet itself-the slab of frozen water, hundreds of metres (feet) thick in places, that holds most of the world's stock of fresh water.Reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience, the investigators from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) describe the finding as "unique."It extends the range of known volcanism in Antarctica by some 500 kilometres (300 miles) and raises the question whether this or other sub-glacial volcanoes may have melted so much ice that global sea levels were affected, they say.The volcano, located in the Hudson Mountains, blew around 207 BC, plus or minus 240 years, according to their paper.Evidence for this comes from a British-American airborne geophysical survey in 2004-5 that used radar to delve deep under the ice sheet to map the terrain beneath.Vaughan's team spotted anomalous radar reflections over 23,000 square kilometres (8,900 sq. miles), an area bigger than Wales.They interpret this signal as being a thick layer of ash, rock and glass, formed from fused silica, that the volcano spewed out in its fury.The amount of material-0.31 cubic kilometres (0.07 cubic miles)-indicates an eruption of between three and four on a yardstick called the Volcanic Explosive Index (VEI).By comparison, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, which was greater, rates a VEI of five, and that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 is a VEI of six."We believe this was the biggest eruption in Antarctica during the last 10,000 years," BAS' Hugh Corr says."It blew a substantial hole in the icesheet and generated a plume of ash and gas that rose around 12 kms (eight miles) into the air."The eruption occurred close to the massive Pine Island Glacier, an area where movement of glacial ice towards the sea has been accelerating alarmingly in recent decades."It may be possible that heat from the volcano has caused some of that acceleration," says BAS professor David Vaughan, who stresses though that global warming is by far the greater likelier cause.Volcanic heat "cannot explain the more widespread thinning of West Antarctic glaciers that together are contributing nearly 0.2mm (0.008 of an inch) per year to sea-level rise," he adds."This wider change most probably has its origin in warming ocean waters."

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Colombia volcano erupts

BOGOTA, Colombia-A volcano erupted violently in southwestern Colombia Thursday, spewing ash miles into the sky and prompting the evacuation of several thousand people living nearby.There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious property damage after the 14,110-foot Galeras volcano began erupting about 8 p.m.About 8,000 people live in areas near the volcano where Pasto's mayor ordered an evacuation but "most of the city is not in danger," Fernando Gil, director of Colombia's Seismological Network, told The Associated Press by phone."It's still erupting," Gil said more than two hours after its initial eruption.Witness said it lit up the night sky. Gil estimated that the ash cloud reached five miles into the air.[[[He called it the most serious eruption of Galeras since the volcano reactivated in 1989.]]] "Depending on the wind direction it's going to spread ashes over the entire area.""Most of (Galeras') eruptions are violent and short," he noted. He said Thursday's eruption had produced some lava flows that did not extend far from the volcano's crater.A 1993 eruption of the volcano, near the border with Ecuador, killed nine people, including five scientists who had descended into the crater to sample gases.In November 2005, the volcano spewed ash that fell about 30 miles away.

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Quake, Steam Explosion Shake Mount St. Helens

VANCOUVER, Wash.-Geologist John S. Pallister was flying over Mount St. Helens when he spotted something unusual.Pallister, a private pilot who works in the hazards section of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades Volcano Observatory, noticed a line of steam coming from a zipper-like fracture line atop the growing lava dome in the crater of the southwest Washington volcano."It was interesting enough to take some pictures," Pallister told The Columbian newspaper of the Sunday flight.After landing, he learned that a 2.9-magnitude earthquake had registered on seismographs at the observatory in Vancouver. That was followed by a small tremor that lasted nearly an hour and a half, an unusually long period, punctuated by a second quake of 2.7 magnitude-all in the same period in which he saw the steam.Along with the shake, rattle and roll, tiltmeters registered alternate ground swelling and deflation near the lava dome, which has been growing in the crater since the fall of 2004.All are typical signs that magma, superheated gases or both are moving through conduits beneath St. Helens, which blew its top with devastating force on May 18, 1980, leveling 230 square miles of forest and killing 57 people.The last noteworthy tremor at the volcano lasted 55 minutes on Oct. 2, 2004, and was much more powerful, registering on seismometers from Bend, Ore., to Bellingham and causing a hasty evacuation of the Johnston Ridge Observatory five miles north of the crater.No evacuations have been ordered this time-seismic activity had slowed down since the episode Sunday and the likelihood of a major eruption seemed low. Hydrologist Carolyn Driedger said Wednesday that scientists were taking advantage of some clear weather to check on the equipment that monitors the volcano 24 hours a day and make some minor repairs.Cynthia A. Gardner, scientist in charge of the volcano observatory, said that scientists had quit venturing into the crater. The equipment checks are being done on the flanks of the crater, outside the area where the new dome is growing."We're just being cautious. It's not that we're anticipating any activity," Gardner said Wednesday.She said the precise cause of the recent activity was not entirely clear."The settling of the growing lava dome might have caused some fracturing and might have changed the subsurface openings so that water was either being squeezed out of openings or opening new areas," Gardner said Tuesday.The last precise measurements, drawn from images in July, indicated the latest eruptive phase has pumped 123 million cubic yards of material into the crater. The rate has slowed considerably, but the episode Sunday showed that could change at any time, Pallister said."Rumors of an early end of this eruption are once again shown not to be the case," he said. "It's still got some surprises."

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Volcano prompts evacuations in Ecuador

Ecuador-Activity in Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano, 90 miles south of Quito, has forced the evacuation of at least 1,000 villagers.Authorities are asking the government to resettle evacuated families in other areas so they don't have to return to the endangered zones.Tungurahua's last eruption in 2006 killed five people, destroyed farmland and left hundreds of farm animals dead.The volcano's name is translated "throat of fire" in the Quichua language. It has been erupting off and on since 1999.Since then, HCJB Global Hands has sent relief teams to areas affected by ashfalls, bringing physical and spiritual encouragement to local residents.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Earthquakes and epilepsy 'linked'

TECHNIQUES for forecasting earthquakes could also be used to predict when epilepsy sufferers will have fits, researchers have found.Scientists in the United States compared brain activity recorded in epileptic seizures with seismological data.They discovered striking similarities, notably that the longer the period since a previous fit or earthquake, the longer until the next one. And they say, in New Scientist magazine, this shared pattern of "waiting times" indicates that seizures and quakes may not happen at random.The researchers, led by neurologist Ivan Osorio from the University of Kansas, wrote: "This suggests a novel research direction for the prediction of seizures based on the notion that seizures beget seizures.[[["The study also reveals a similarity between the small tremors that precede large earthquakes and the tiny spikes in the brain's electrical activity just before a seizure.]]]Earthquakes and epileptic fits can be described by so-called "power laws", often used to link apparently random events, the scientists showed. Matthew Walker, of the experimental epilepsy group at University College London's Institute of Neurology, told New Scientist a proven way of predicting seizures could "revolutionise" sufferers' lives. But he cautioned that the US team had not yet shown that its method could do this.Epilepsy is a condition in which disturbances in the brain's normal electrical activity lead to recurring fits or brief episodes of altered consciousness. One person in 50 will develop epilepsy at some time in their life. Allana Parker, from Epilepsy Scotland, said if doctors could predict seizures, it could minimise the trauma for patients and their families.The full article contains 265 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
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6.4-Magnitude Quake Strikes Off Oregon Coast

A moderate earthquake struck off the Oregon coast on Wednesday evening, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.The 6.4-magnitude quake was located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 150 miles west-northwest of Barview, Oregon, at a depth of 6.2 miles, according to the USGS. There are no immediate reports of damage.
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Wild Eruption in Ecuador

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Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano may erupt

QUITO, Ecuador-Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano is poised for a major eruption, a volcanologist said Wednesday. Authorities last week evacuated 10 villages from its western slopes as a precaution.Patricia Mothes, a U.S. expert on volcanoes, said the 16,575-foot volcano, located 80 miles southeast of Quito,"is preparing to generate, in days or weeks, a great eruption."She said that could mean pyroclastic flows-blasts of volcanic material "that descend at high speeds and burn everything in their way."Tungurahua, which has been active since 1999, has been freeing a high level of energy since Dec. 22, Mothes told The AP by telephone."We have indications that there may be important volumes of magma which would be liberated in an eruption," she said.Juan Salazar, the mayor of Penipe, one of 10 villages evacuated last week from the western slopes of Tungurahua, said 3,000 acres of crops and pasture have been damaged by ash from the volcano.There have been no lava flows since the volcano began spitting out ash in December, he said.Villagers return by day to tend to their crops and farm animals but stay in temporary shelters outside the danger zone at night.
Salazar said the government has decided to provide new houses for 286 families that cannot return to their homes at night. He said the families would receive the keys to the houses on Feb. 9 along with small plots for growing crops.Tungurahua erupted in July and August of 2006, causing at least four deaths. The eruptions forced the evacuation of thousands of villagers and damaged thousands of acres of crops buried under tons of ashes and lava flows.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

6.2 quake hits Queen Charlotte Islands Region

Preliminary Earthquake Report
6.2 Mw
9 Jan 2008 14:40:01 UTC
9 Jan 2008 06:40:01 near epicenter
9 Jan 2008 08:40:01 standard time in your timezone
51.701N 131.095W
10 km
275 km (171 miles) WNW (296 degrees) of Port Hardy, BC, Canada
294 km (183 miles) S (191 degrees) of Prince Rupert, BC, Canada
382 km (238 miles) S (175 degrees) of Metlakatla, AK
624 km (388 miles) WNW (299 degrees) of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Location Uncertainty
Horizontal: 6.8 km; Vertical 0.0 km
Nph = 91; Dmin = 519.6 km; Rmss = 1.03 seconds; Gp = 136°M-type = Mw; Version = 6
Event ID
US 2008lzas ***This event supersedes event AT00652000.
For updates, maps, and technical information, see:
Event Page or
U.S.G.S. Earthquake Hazards Program
National Earthquake Information CenterU.S. Geological Survey

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Strong quake shakes Chile

Washington - A strong earthquake registering 5.9 on the Moment Magnitude scale hit northern Chile on Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, the US government reported.The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the tremor, which occurred at 04:29 (07:29 GMT), was located in the Andes, near the country's borders with Bolivia and Argentina.The closest urban centre, the Chilean town of Calama, is located 63km from the centre of the quake, the survey said.The reading was based on the open-ended Moment Magnitude scale, now used by US seismologists, which measures the area of the fault that ruptured and the total energy released.A much stronger quake measuring 6.7 struck the same region of northern Chile on December 16.The tremors were part of a series of quakes that rattled northern Chile in recent months.A deadly 7.7-magnitude earthquake on November 14 killed two people, injured 15 000 and damaged about 4 000 buildings.

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Three years after tsunami, through the lenses of children

This month the Indonesian government dedicated the 100,000th new home in Aceh Province, three years after the towering waves of a tsunami crashed ashore in one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, seaports and airstrips have also been built in Aceh, and most of the displaced population have found new homes.Similar progress has been made in Sri Lanka, Thailand and other nations around the rim of the Indian Ocean, where the radiating waves that followed an earthquake off the Indonesian coast took 260,000 lives on the morning of Dec. 26, 2004.The disaster is over now, part of the past. But for those who survived it, there is no clear break between what was past and what is now. The tsunami is part of their present and part of their future.For some, the memories are paralyzing, aid workers say, and a number of programs are in place in affected areas to help people try to recover their lives.In one such program, the American Red Cross distributed disposable cameras to about 80 children in Aceh and in Sri Lanka and told them to focus on what is happy in their lives."Some children, after the tsunami, they lost their creativity and lost interest in normal life," said Manan Kotak, a psycho-social program specialist for the American Red Cross in Aceh."They are always remembering the day of the tsunami and everything they lost," he said. "So we are trying to bring them out. If they keep it in their minds, it will never come out."Some, he said, are still too afraid of the waves to visit the seashore.He said the most difficult moment when the cameras were handed out, and the most exciting, was when the children, pointing them this way and that, wanted to shoot all their pictures at once.The young photographers, ages 6 to 14, were told to slow down and search out things they like at home, at school and in their neighborhoods. Program monitors then culled 20 pictures from a deluge of 3,500, many of them shot upside-down or out of kilter or showing an errant finger in front of the lens.The result is a glimpse of life just as it was before the tsunami - as if there never had been a tsunami - people at work and at play, climbing trees, tending goats, pulling in fishing nets, sitting at school desks, holding children, gazing out across a broad, placid sea.But in all of them, the horror of that day hovers just below the sun-filled surface.Ulfa, age 12, photographed two children standing at the end of a dock, waves frothing around them, and titled her picture, "Beautiful View."A. Akila Nilukshan, 10, photographed a fish market on a shoreline devastated by the waves. "I wanted to show women making money selling fish," he said."The women were smiling and doing their job so happily."G.M. Kavinda Krishan Fernando, 10, photographed a laborer near a local market, struggling to survive. "He was a very old man carrying a heavy sack, and I felt sad for him," he said. "But the heavy sack will help him earn money for his livelihood."Raveen Pramudith, 12, photographed his younger brother sitting on a rock by the seaside. "I wanted to take his picture with the beauty of the beach," he said. "I also remembered the tsunami while taking the photo."Unlike some other children, he is able to talk about those memories now. "There were so many dead bodies lying on the road," he said. "My family and I were scared to return home. Our village was not as beautiful as it was before, and it was full of darkness."
To read more go to:

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Strong earthquake rocks southern Greece

ATHENS, Greece: A strong earthquake rattled southern Greece early Sunday and was felt in the capital, Athens. No injuries were reported.Police said minor damage had occurred to homes in the southern Peloponnese region.The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake at 7:14 a.m. had a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 and was centered about 80 miles southwest of Athens.
The institute's director, Giorgos Stavrakakis, said the earthquake was felt across most of the country."But it occurred deep underground ... and is unlikely to pose any danger to the public," he said. "People should remain calm."The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.1.The quake occurred between the southern town of Leonidio and the city of Sparta."We have no reports of serious damage. None at all. All we've heard is that plaster has come loose in several old houses," Leonidio's mayor, Dimitris Tsigounis, said. "People ran out of their homes ... Everyone is trying to stay as calm as possible.""We are still gathering data, but believe there is no cause for particular concern," said seismologist Giorgos Drakatos of the Athens institute."Quakes of this depth-35 to 45 miles underground-are typically felt far away and are followed by low aftershock activity."Earthquakes are common in Greece and neighboring Turkey, which are both riddled with fault lines.In 1999, a 5.9-magnitude quake near Athens killed 143 people and left thousands more homeless.
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Strong quakes strike off Canada’s west coast:No immediate reports of damages or injuries after three temblors

WASHINGTON - Two strong 6.5-magnitude earthquakes struck off Canada’s west coast early Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.The quakes were both at a depth of 6.2 miles in the Queen Charlotte Islands region, and followed a smaller earlier 5.3-magnitude temblor in the area.The larger quakes were 137 and 146 miles west north-west of Port Hardy,British Columbia, the USGS said on its Web site.There were no immediate reports of damage, or warnings from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

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Hundreds take shelter as volcano rumbles:300 families tend farms during day, but move away at night

QUITO, Ecuador-Rumbling by Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has forced the evacuation of at least 1,000 villagers, authorities said Sunday.Some 300 families from 10 hamlets on the western slopes of the 16,400-foot volcano, 80 miles southeast of Quito, have been evacuated as a precautionary measure."The intense activity has forced us to put into effect a voluntary contingency and evacuation plan," Pablo Morillo, the head of emergency operations, told The Associated Press by telephone. He said the measure involves moving people at night to shelters a safe distance away from the volcano. They are allowed to return by day to their homes to tend to their crops and animals.But Juan Salazar, mayor of Penipe, said authorities of the 10 villages are requesting the government resettle evacuated families in other areas so that they don't have to return to the endangered zones."The volcano is totally plugged up and the roars (from inside) are making people nervous," he said.The latest report from Ecuador's Geophysics Institute said the activity could become more intense in coming days. The institute said the volcano has spewed ash but there have been no lava flows.Tungurahua erupted in July and August of 2006, causing at least four deaths. The eruptions forced the evacuation of thousands of villagers and damaged thousands of acres of crops buried under tons of ashes and lava flows.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Indonesia mud volcano breaches barrier, sparks panic

PORONG,Indonesia-A mud volcano that forced more than 15,000 people to abandon their homes on the Indonesian island of Java in 2006 has breached the barriers built to contain it, causing further damage, police said.Residents in Porong in East Java province fled from their homes in panic late on Thursday when hot, foul-smelling mud began to flow into the area, covering the nearby railway tracks and a main road."At least 10 vehicles were buried by one-metre (yard) deep mud, including mine," said Andi Yudianto, a local traffic police chief.The newly affected area is about 20 km (12 miles) from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city. But thousands of homes and factories in an area four times the size of Monaco have been submerged by the hot mud since it first started to erupt in May 2006.The disaster occurred about 200 metres from a gas exploration well operated by PT Lapindo Brantas, just two days after an earthquake hit the city of Yogyakarta in Central Java.There has been a dispute over whether the mud volcano was caused by the gas drilling well or by the earthquake.Lapindo is partly owned, through various other companies, by the family of Aburizal Bakrie, a cabinet minister and businessman. The Bakrie family last year topped the Forbes' list for the wealthy in Indonesia.The government has tried several schemes to halt the flow, including dropping giant concrete balls into the crater, but the hot mud continues to spurt out.Ahmad Zulkarnain, a spokesman for a government body managing the mudflow, said it had been unable to reinforce the 10-metre thick and 5-metre high dyke built to contain the mudflow because there had been no agreement on compensation with the owner of the land where the defences are situated."We had been worrying about this for some time. It is vulnerable, especially during the rainy season," he told Reuters.The government ordered energy group Lapindo, which many people blame for the disaster, to pay 3.8 trillion rupiah ($403.6 million) in compensation to the victims and to cover the damage. Thousands of victims have staged frequent street protests, complaining of inadequate compensation.Lapindo and PT Energi Mega Persada Tbk ENRG.JK, which has a stake in Lapindo, dispute the idea the disaster was caused by the drilling and also whether Lapindo alone should shoulder the cost.

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Hawaii Marks 25 Years of Constant Volcanic Eruptions

Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of the eruption of Kilauea Volcano.Scientists on the Big Island say it's the longest Kilauea rift zone eruption in at least the last 800 years.The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the longest eruptive activity in recent times anywhere on the volcano was at the lava lake near the summit.It was erupting in 1823 and continued to be mostly active until 1924.After the past 25 years, the volcano has spewed enough lava to cover the District of Columbia to a depth of 62 feet.The eruption has destroyed 190 structures, covered nearly nine miles of roadway and has been responsible for the deaths of five sightseers.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Strong quakes jolt New Guinea

Washington - Two strong earthquakes, a magnitude 6.2 quickly followed by a magnitude 5.5 aftershock, struck Papua New Guinea on Tuesday, on the eastern shore of the main island of New Guinea, the US Geological Survey reported.The first quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.7 but later verified at 6.2, was centred 88.5 km north of the town of Lae. It was only 50 km deep.The aftershock, initially reported at magnitude 6.1 and later downgraded to 5.5, was deeper at 63.5 km, and struck at 1913 GMT, very nearby, 84 km north of Lae.
'Tsunami very unlikely'
USGS Earthquake Analyst Don Blakeman said the quakes were fairly strong and could have caused damage to local structures and villages but he added no reports of any damage or casualties were immediately available.He said the quakes were very unlikely to cause a tsunami because they struck on land and were not powerful enough but the first one could cause some local wave activity. Both quakes were near the coast.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, which monitors possible tsunamis around the world, did not issue any warning.The area is sparsely populated and is prone to earthquakes.,,2-10-1462_2245339,00.html
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Volcano Llaima erupts in Chile

Volcano erupts in Chile

Raw Video: Volcano erupts in Chile
Associated Press

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Volcano erupts in Chile; about 700 flee

SANTIAGO, Chile - About 700 people were evacuated as a volcano erupted Wednesday in southern Chile, rocking the area with explosions and spewing lava and ash.But the Llaima volcano's eruptions were slowing by Wednesday afternoon, so a larger evacuation did not appear necessary.The evacuees included about 200 tourists, National Forest Service employees and others in the surrounding Conguillio National Park, about 400 miles south of Santiago.Hundreds spent the night outside or in shelters in Melipeuco, a town of 5,000 near the Llaima volcano. Others fled to communities farther away, but most were returning Wednesday.Chile's Emergency Bureau director, Carmen Fernandez, said a larger evacuation wasn't necessary despite television images showing thick smoke and lava flowing from the crater."There are no signs yet of an increased risk," Fernandez said. "There is some flow of lava, but not in a continued manner yet."The bureau said the eruption was decreasing Wednesday and explosions were less frequent and milder, even as Argentina reported a heavy presence of gas and ash across the border.The 9,400-foot high Llaima, one of the most active among some 60 active volcanos in Chile, has not had a major blast since 1994.

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