Japan’s Sakurajima Volcano Due For Major Eruption Within 30 Years, Say Scientists

One of Japan’s most active volcanoes is due for a major eruption within the next 30 years, say scientists who have studied a build-up of magma there.

sakurajima

The Sakurajima volcano on Japan’s Kyushu island poses a “growing threat”, researchers at the University of Bristol say.

The volcano, located 49km (30 miles) from the Sendai nuclear plant, is also close to Kagoshima, a city of 600,000.
Sakurajima’s last deadly eruption was in 1914, when 58 people died.

The Japanese archipelago, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of fire”, has more than 100 volcanoes. Sakurajima regularly spews ash and there are many small explosions there each year, with the latest eruption being in February.

It is closely monitored by Japanese authorities and one of two volcanoes at Level 3 out of 5 levels in Japan’s volcanic warning system, which means that people are warned not to to approach the volcano.

“The 1914 eruption measured about 1.5km cubed in volume,” said the study’s lead author Dr James Hickey, who has now joined the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines.

“From our data we think it would take around 130 years for the volcano to store the same amount of magma for another eruption of a similar size – meaning we are around 25 years away.”

A report on the activity of the volcano was published on Tuesday and teams from Bristol University and the Sakurajima Volcano Research Centre took part

Their research showed that 14 million cubic metres of magma is accumulating each year, enough to fill London’s Wembley Stadium 3.5 times over.

They added that the rate at which the magma is accumulating is faster than it can be expelled in its regular smaller eruptions, which led them to infer that a major eruption is likely in the next 30 years.

They made these assessments based on new ways of studying and modelling the volcano’s magma reservoir. Scientists say they hope these findings can help authorities plan for major eruptions.

“We know that being forewarned means we are forearmed and providing essential information for local authorities can potentially help save lives if an eruption was imminent,” said Dr Hickey.

According to an associate professor at Kyoto University, new evacuation plans have already been prepared.

“It is already passed by 100 years since the 1914 eruption, less than 30 years is left until a next expected big eruption,” said Dr Haruhisa Nakamichi, Associate Professor at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.

“Kagoshima city office has prepared a new evacuation plan from Sakurajima.”

Meranti: Strongest Super Typhoon Of The Year Barrels Toward China, Taiwan

Hundreds of people have been evacuated in southern Taiwan and China has issued a red alert as the region braces for the impact of the strongest storm of the year.

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Super Typhoon Meranti is barreling down on Taiwan, bringing wind speeds of up to 230 miles per hour (370 kph), faster than a Formula One race car, and torrential rains.

Schools and offices across the south of the island have closed and dozens of flights have been canceled, according to the official China News Agency.

Two people have been injured, and more than 260,000 households have lost power in counties across southern Taiwan, according to Taiwan authorities.

More than 370 domestic and international flights have been canceled and train services have also been suspended.

As of 7 a.m. local time Wednesday morning, around 1,500 people had been evacuated from the affected areas, Li Wei-sen, of the Taiwan Central Emergency Operating Center, told CNN.

Almost 4,000 military and police personnel have been deployed to the region to prepare for potential future evacuations, but he said authorities are not expecting major damage or destruction.

China braces for impact

While the 23 million people in Taiwan are likely to be buffeted and soaked by Meranti, the main brunt of the storm will fall on mainland China. The storm is expected to make landfall in Guangdong or Fujian provinces during the day on Thursday.

Authorities in six south-eastern provinces as well as Shanghai have initiated emergency response measures as the storm approaches, according to state run news agency Xinhua.

If the storm makes landfall in eastern Guangdong, it could be the strongest to hit the province in 47 years, Xinhua reported.

“It only took nine hours for Meranti to grow into a super typhoon from a typhoon,” Guangdong meteorologist Zhang Dong told the news agency.

“Packing winds between 202 to 220 kilometers per hour, it is interacting with another storm, Malakas, 1,000 kilometers away, and the route could be hard to predict.”

China’s National Meteorological Center issued a red typhoon warning at 6 a.m. local time Wednesday, while authorities warned that waves eight to 13 meters (26 to 42 feet) high could be expected in the northeastern part of the South China Sea.

Super typhoon

After a period of rapid intensification Monday and Tuesday, which saw Meranti grow from a Category 1 equivalent storm to that of a top-scale Category 5 in only 24 hours, the super typhoon has maintained winds of 190 mph (305 kph) for nearly 24 hours.

With current gusts of up to 230 mph (370 kph), Meranti is the strongest typhoon since Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013 and is the strongest storm to come this close to Taiwan since 1959.

The storm is nearing the southern tip of Taiwan, and though its eye may pass a few miles south of the island, dangerous typhoon-force winds greater than 74 mph (120 kph) extend nearly 80 miles (125 km), and will cover much of Southern Taiwan.

From there the storm will track through toward the northwest and move into mainland China.

Storm veterans

Taiwan, despite being a frequent target for powerful Pacific typhoons, has a very good track record of limiting the storms’ deadly impacts. But as storms move into the mainland, they often turn deadlier. The flatter terrain — prone to storm surges and inland flooding — and higher population density often result in higher numbers of people killed or misplaced by the storm.

This was the case with a similar storm, Super Typhoon Nepartak, which hit in almost the same location as where Meranti is forecast to travel. Nepartak, which made landfall on July 8, caused at least three deaths in Taiwan and cut power to over half a million, but became much deadlier as it moved into mainland China.

Despite weakening to a tropical storm as it hit mainland China, Nepartak and its associated heavy rainfall of up to 10 inches (254 mm) killed more than 80 people. Meranti is expected to be much stronger than Nepartak when it hits mainland China, with winds around 130 mph (210 kph), which would make it equivalent to a major Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Julia a Flood Threat in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina

Tropical Storm Julia formed late Tuesday night and is now spinning inland across southeast Georgia.

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Julia is the first tropical cyclone on record to be named while over land in Florida, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach.

The main concern from Julia will be heavy rain along the immediate Southeast coast through Thursday, which could result in flooding.

The tropical storm warning that was is in effect from Fernandina Beach, Florida, northward to Altamaha Sound, Georgia has been discontinued.

Latest Status on Julia

Tropical Storm Julia was located about 10 miles west of Brunswick, Georgia, as of Wednesday morning.

Julia will continue to crawl northward, while weakening to a tropical depression later Wednesday. By Thursday, Julia is expected to become a remnant low over Georgia.

Some tropical storm-force winds gusts have been observed along the coast of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia from Julia.

Rainbands from Julia will continue to impact mainly coastal parts of Georgia and South Carolina.

Forecast Impacts: Heavy Rain the Main Threat

As mentioned before, heavy rainfall is the main threat from Julia.

Rainfall accumulations are likely to be in the 3- to 6-inch range near and to the north of the storm’s center of circulation along the Southeast coast, particularly in Georgia and South Carolina. Isolated rainfall totals could amount to 10 inches.

A flash flood watch has been issued for portions of coastal Georgia and South Carolina. This includes Savannah and Charleston.

There is a low possibility that a brief tornado or two could form on Wednesday in coastal parts of Georgia and South Carolina.

Turrialba Volcano Spews Ash, Vapor

Following an increase in seismic activity, Turrialba Volcano began spewing ash, vapor and gases at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, experts from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the National University (UNA) confirmed.

turialba

Activity at Turrialba, located in Cartago province 60 kilometers northeast of the capital San José, resumed Monday night with an increase in volcanic tremors, according to a report from UNA’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI).

The report adds that the ash plume from the explosion reached approximately 300 meters (985 feet) above the volcano’s crater.

Mauricio Mora, a volcanologist with UCR’s National Seismological Network (RSN), said windy conditions in the morning dispersed the ash plume towards the west and northwestern areas of the Central Valley. Ashes mainly reached sectors in northeastern San José, and certain areas in Alajuela and Heredia provinces.

People posting on both OVSICORI’s and UNA’s Facebook pages reported smelling sulfur and seeing ash on the ground in communities north and east of the capital including Coronado, Moravia, Guadalupe, Tibás and Montes de Oca.

Tuesday morning’s activity, however, was not as strong as that recorded earlier this year, when ash plumes exceeded 3,000 meters (9,800 ft.) above the volcano.

The new explosion followed 43 days of low activity, after the last important explosion recorded on August 1.

Turrialba is one of Costa Rica’s five active volcanoes along with Arenal, Poás, Irazú, and Rincón de la Vieja.

Aid for farmers

President Luis Guillermo Solís toured communities north and east of Cartago on Monday and announced the allocation of ₡2,4 billion ($4.3 million) for the province, including aid for farmers and ranchers whose production has been negatively affected by volcanic activity and drought in recent years.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, Cartago farmers are the country’s top potato producers, supplying 80 percent of all potatoes consumed in Costa Rica. They are also the largest producers of onions and large suppliers of carrots, yucca, cabbages, beets, flowers and other crops.

Greater Manchester Plunged Into Darkness As The Great September Storm Brings Lightning, Thunder, Rain And Chaos

The county was suddenly plunged into darkness around 6pm when dark clouds rolled in and dumped more than 30mm of rainfall in just one hour, about half the average for the whole of September.

storm

Homes were deluged, shops like the Harvey Nichols department store were closed and the entire Metrolink system came to a shuddering half when lightning knocked out two electricity sub-stations.

Market Street in Manchester city centre was awash.

Manchester City’s Champions League match against Borrusia Monchengladbach had to be called off just before the kick-off as the pitch inside the Etihad stadium was flooded and roads around the ground were treacherous.

Dozens of flights in and out of Manchester Airport were delayed while two in-bound flights had to be diverted to airports in the midlands.

The storm affected part of Stockport worst, with the village of Bramhall being submerged in water.

Firefighters were called to 106 reports of flooding in just 90 minutes at the height of the storm, in many cases working to isolate to the electricity supply to ensure householders’ safety.

The firefighters’ busy evening dealing with weather-related incidents started at 6.24pm when B&Q on Kingsway in Manchester was flooded.

At 6.27pm firefighters were sent to Winchester Drive in Heaton Norris, Stockport, where water affected the electrics.

At the same time another fire engine was scrambled to Crossley Road in Stockport where a woman and a boy were trapped in a car which was stranded in the middle of flood water under a railway bridge.

The mum and child managed to scramble out of the vehicle before they were looked over by paramedics.

At 6.29pm the fire service sent one of its crews to Buckingham Road West in Heaton Morris, Stockport, after flood water gone into a garage.

At the same time another engine was called to Heaton Road in Manchester where the water had forced its way into a property and again affected the power supply.

Firefighters were also scrambled to Queens Road in Cheadle Hulme where flooding had affected a vetinary practice

At 6.30pm a fire engine was sent to Bright Eyes Child Care Nursery on Demesne Road in Manchester where water had affected the electrics.

Firefighters were also scrambled to Queens Road in Cheadle Hulme where flooding had affected a vetinary practice

At 6.30pm a fire engine was sent to Bright Eyes Child Care Nursery on Demesne Road in Manchester where water had affected the electrics.

A few minutes later they went to Broadway in Bramhall, Stockport, where again the water had affected power to the property. Firemen were sent to a report of flooding in Alness Road in Manchester by 7.14pm.

At 7.36pm the fire service sent at crew to The Village Hotel Club and Restaurant on Captain Clarke Road in Hyde.

Scores of tram passengers were left stranded in the city centre after lightening struck three of Metrolink’s sub-stations, resulting in all services being suspended.

The disruption lasted well into the evening with services cancelled on the Bury and Altrincham line plus a reduced service running on the East Didsbury line due to flooding.

Rail networks were also left in disarray with many trains delayed until 10pm due to the weather.

Many commuters complained of being stranded in the city centre for the evening.

Cara Nuttall wrote: “Sooo… Stranded in an insane thunderstorm, soaked with no coat, umbrella or plan.#manchester public transport is in meltdown and no cabs.”

Roads were affected too with many impassable for cars due to flooding.

Several drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles on Salmon Fields in Royton while Bramhall high street was left with floods at least 1ft deep.

Discovery Nearly Doubles Known Quasars From The Ancient Universe

Quasars are supermassive black holes that sit at the center of enormous galaxies, accreting matter. They shine so brightly that they are often referred to as beacons and are among the most-distant objects in the universe that we can currently study. New work from a team led by Carnegie’s Eduardo Bañados has discovered 63 new quasars from when the universe was only a billion years old.

quisars

This is the largest sample of such distant quasars presented in a single scientific article, almost doubling the number of ancient quasars previously known. The findings will be published by The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

“Quasars are among the brightest objects and they literally illuminate our knowledge of the early universe,” Bañados said.

But until now, the population of known ancient quasars was fairly small, so scientists’ ability to glean information from them was limited. One of the main challenges is finding these distant quasars, which are extremely rare. Scientists have searched for them for decades, but the effort is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack.

The quasars discovered by Bañados and his team will provide valuable information from the first billion years after the Big Bang, which is a period of great interest to astronomers.

Why?

The universe was created in the Big Bang and hot matter exploded everywhere. But then it cooled off enough for the first protons and electrons to form and then to coalesce into hydrogen atoms, which resulted in a dark universe for a long time. It wasn’t until these atomic nuclei formed larger structures that light was able to shine once again in the universe. This happened when gravity condensed the matter and eventually formed the first sources of illumination, which might have included quasars.

There is still a lot about this era when the universe’s lights were turned back on that science doesn’t understand. But having more examples of ancient quasars will help experts to figure out what happened in those first billion years after the Big Bang.

“The formation and evolution of the earliest light sources and structures in the universe is one of the greatest mysteries in astronomy,” Bañados said. “Very bright quasars such as the 63 discovered in this study are the best tools for helping us probe the early universe. But until now, conclusive results have been limited by the very small sample size of ancient quasars.”

The coming years will see a great improvement in what we know about the early universe thanks to these discoveries.

UPDATE :16 Dead, 250 Injured In Tanzania Earthquake

At least 16 people died and 253 were injured in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck northwest Tanzania and was felt throughout the Great Lakes region, local authorities said Sunday.

quake

As rescuers scrambled to find survivors from Saturday’s quake, Tanzanian premier Kassim Majaliwa headed to the worst-hit city, Bukoba, to attend a ceremony at its stadium.

“This tragic event is unprecedented. We’ve never known this in our country,” he told mourners. “The government is with you. It will not abandon you.”

President John Magufuli, who is from the region, said he was “deeply saddened”.

A group of 15 boys at a secondary boarding school in Bukoba district are believed to be among the 16 dead and 253 injured, according to Salum Kijuu, governor of Kagera province where Bukoba is located.

More than 800 buildings have been destroyed, including 44 public ones, Kijuu told AFP.

Across the border in Uganda, an unknown number of homes have also been razed by the quake which struck at 1227 GMT at a depth of 40 kilometres (24 miles) in the region near Lake Victoria.

In the Ugandan village of Minziro in the district of Rakai, residents appealed for help on Sunday, describing terrifying scenes of rocks crashing down nearby hillsides.

“I am sure the government can’t reconstruct our houses but in the meantime it can aid us with construction materials for tents,” victim Masembe Remegio told AFP. Earthquakes are fairly common in the Great Lakes region but are almost always of low intensity.

Tremors across the region The quake’s epicentre was 23 kilometres (15 miles) east of the northwestern Tanzanian town of Nsunga, in Bukoba district, and was felt in Rwanda, Burundi,Uganda and Kenya, the US Geological Survey said. Bukoba city suffered

widespread damage, with 270 houses destroyed and electricity disrupted, the Red Cross said in a statement. Its main hospital was stretched to nearly full capacity and had limited stocks of medicine.

“Telecommunications have been disrupted and we are trying to get a clear picture of the damage to hospitals and other essential infrastructure,” Andreas Sandin, Red Cross operations coordinator in East Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, said in a statement.

No damage was reported in Tanzania’s economic capital, Dar es Salaam, which is located some 1,400 kilometres southeast of Bukoba. In Rwanda the shaking was felt across the country, with hotel staff and half-dressed visitors seen rushing out of their rooms in the capital, Kigali, when the quake struck.