Earthquake Sends Kiwis Screaming From Wellington Buildings

New Zealanders ran screaming from buildings in Wellington yesterday as a magnitude 6.5 earthquake blew out windows and caused part of the city’s port to slide into the sea.

The earthquake struck at 5:09 p.m. local time and was centered offshore, 57 kilometers (35 miles) south-southwest of the capital city, at a depth of 14 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was New Zealand’s biggest quake since a magnitude 6.3 killed 185 people in the South Island city of Christchurch two years ago, and the strongest to hit the central region of the country since 1942, GNS Science seismologist John Ristau said.

There is an 8 percent chance of another magnitude 6 event or larger in the next 24 hours, and 20 percent over the next seven days, Ristau said in a telephone interview. “A large earthquake can increase stress or decrease stress on neighboring faults, that’s what we’re looking closely at,” he said.

The powerful shake, which lasted at least 20 seconds, threw goods from store shelves and caused people to run from buildings such as movie theaters, eyewitnesses said. Four people were hospitalized with minor injuries, state broadcaster TVNZ reported. There were no reports of fatalities.

Downtown Wellington was largely deserted today as aftershocks continued to shake the city. Civil Defense advised people to stay at home and many companies and government departments told staff not to come to work. Parts of the CBD remain cordoned off as smashed glass and debris is removed from sidewalks and engineers assess the safety of high-rise office towers.

Quake ‘Swarm’

The earthquake was the latest in a so-called “swarm” of tremors centered in the Cook Strait that separates New Zealand’s North and South Islands. The nation of 4.4 million people sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of volcanic and quake activity that circles the Pacific Ocean.

Some 35 Wellington buildings have so far been found to have sustained damage, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown told a news conference this afternoon. The central business district will re-open for business tomorrow, she said.

The city came through the big quake “very well” with largely superficial damage, Prime Minister John Key said. Initial indications suggest it is “not a major financial event,” he said earlier today.


Bloomberg has the full article

(Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) – Rescue teams are scrambling to reach the site of Monday morning’s strong and shallow earthquake in northwestern China that has killed at least 89 people, according to state media.

Another 584 people were injured and 17 were believed missing after the quake tore through Gansu Province, state media reported.

The quake hit along the border of two counties — Min and Zhang — at around 7:45 a.m. local time, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Emergency services are converging on the area, including the Red Cross Society of China, which is sending 200 tents and other supplies to shelter and sustain those left without homes.


CNN has the full article

Monday’s storm was officially epic

It is official: the epic rainfall in Toronto on Monday afternoon that drenched highways, had cars bobbing up and down in rainwater and overwhelmed 911 was an extreme weather event. No, experts say, it wasn’t because of climate change. But yes, we will likely see more storms like it. “This is likely the wettest moment in Toronto’s history,” David Phillips, senior climatologist… Read more →

Popocatepetl volcano, seen from Xalitzintla village, Mexico, was active on Thursday.

(CNN) – Rumblings from Mexico’s most well known volcano forced several U.S. airlines to cancel flights in the country’s capital on Thursday.

Popocatepetl volcano has let out nearly 100 bursts of steam, gas and ash in the past 24 hours, the National Center of Disaster Prevention said.

The ashes haven’t reached Mexico City International Airport, airport officials said in Twitter posts. But Delta, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines canceled a dozen flights that had been scheduled to depart from the airport on Thursday.

At the nearby Toluca International Airport outside Mexico City, Spirit Airlines canceled flights to and from Ft. Lauderdale and Dallas.

No Mexican airlines had canceled flights at the airports, officials said.

After detecting elevated activity, authorities flew over the volcano on Thursday. Disaster officials said they had measured 12 hours of tremors of high and medium frequency at the volcano, which is about 50 miles away from Mexico City’s airport.

Located in a national park southeast of the capital, Popocatepetl can be seen from there on a clear day. It is one of Mexico’s highest peaks and last had a major eruption in 2000.

But there have been rumblings since then. In April, authorities barred people from getting close to the volcano after a series of explosion and expulsions of ash and gas.


This is a copy of the full article produced by CNN

(Reuters) – Nineteen elite firefighters were killed in a raging Arizona wildfire stoked by record heat and high winds, marking the greatest loss of life among firefighters from a single U.S. wildland blaze in 80 years.

The Prescott, Arizona, Fire Department crew was killed on Sunday when a fast-moving wildfire they were battling trapped them near Yarnell, a town about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

“It had to be a perfect storm in order for this to happen. Their situational awareness and their training was at such a high level that it’s unimaginable that this has even happened,” Prescott Fire Department spokesman Wade Ward told ABC’s “Today” program.

He called the deaths of the crew, known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, “devastating.” The cause of the deaths was unknown and was under investigation.


Reuters has the full article

A three-story building collapsed Friday in India’s financial capital killing ten, half of those children. The collapse comes amid monsoon rains and flooding that are being blamed for near 600 deaths.

An almost biblically epic lightning cloud hovers ominously over the town of...

(Photo: DPA) The Old Testament-like weather that has surged through Germany over the past weeks showed no signs of abating Thursday night. Lightening, thunder, heavy rain and hail pelted much of the country, as emergency crews worked through the night to minimize the damage.

Just as Germans were recovering from massive flooding and a scorching heat wave that caused parts of the autobahn to explode, much of the country was pounded with lightening, thunder and heavy rain on Thursday night. Basements and streets were flooded, and several people were injured by falling trees and branches, some severely. Train traffic was interrupted due to damaged overhead power lines and blocked tracks. The storms calmed down later in the night. has the full article

Thousands of people are still stranded by flash floods in India, where the death toll has risen to 182. Over 10,000 army personnel, 18 helicopters and an Air Force transport plane have been deployed for relief and rescue operations, as residents are stranded at tourist spots and pilgrim centers. With the weather set to improve, the government is moving to supply additional emergency food to the flood-stricken region.

Tectonic Plate movements break up supercontinents: Could signal the start of a new phase of the Wilson Cycle

Tectonic Plate movements break up supercontinents: Could signal the start of a new phase of the Wilson Cycle

A new subduction zone forming off the coast of Portugal heralds the beginning of a cycle that will see the Atlantic Ocean close as continental Europe moves closer to America. Published in Geology, new research led by Monash University geologists has detected the first evidence that a passive margin in the Atlantic ocean is becoming active. Subduction zones, such as the… Read more →

Mexico’s active Popocatepetl volcano has registered a massive explosion spewing ash and incandescent rock almost 4 kilometers high. Authorities have warned that winds could blow the ash cloud as far away as Mexico City.

Inhabitants of villages up to 25 kilometers from Popocatepetl (colloquially known as ‘Don Popo’) rushed out of their houses when the massive explosion reverberated through their homes.

Esther Matinez, resident of Amecameca municipality, told Mexican publication La Jornada that the blast was like a rocket explosion. Around 4.5 million people live within a 50-kilometer radius of the active volcano, 650,000 of whom are considered to be at high risk.

According to authorities in the state of Puebla, where the second-tallest volcano in Mexico is located, the incandescent fragments released in the blast fell as far as 2 kilometers from the crater. Director of Puebla’s Civil Protection department Jesus Morales said that burning rocks sparked small fires around the volcano.

“There were clouds at the time of the eruption so it was possible to observe the large shock wave accompanied by a plume of ash and incandescent material,” Morales said.


RT has the full article