5.3-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Off Oregon Coast, No Tsunami Warning

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon on Sunday morning, followed by a 4.4-magnitude quake in the same area about 40 minutes later, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The National Weather Service’s Tsunami Alerts Twitter page said that a “tsunami [is] not expected” after the 5.3 quake on Sunday.

The 5.3-magnitude quake struck at a depth of around 6 miles. It was located about 232 miles west from Coos Bay and 227 miles west from Charleston. Both are located in southern Oregon, said the agency.

On Tuesday morning, the USGS said that 11 quakes ranging from 2.8 to 5.6 magnitudes were reported off the Oregon and California coastline. They were clustered some 125 miles west of Crescent City, California, according to OregonLive.

Don Blakeman, who works as a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center, told OregonLive that the magnitudes of the tremors haven’t yet been serious. Quakes of this caliber occur fairly often in the Pacific Ocean near the West Coast of the United States, he said.

He said that officials aren’t worried about a tsunami unless a magnitude-7 earthquake is reported.

The earthquakes took place along Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. Blakeman did note that the plate will be the likely source of a large earthquake in the Seattle and Portland area in the future, but nobody knows exactly when.

Meanwhile, Oregon, California, and the rest of the U.S. West Coast are located on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” located within the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It’s lined with around 75 percent of the world’s active volcanoes. The USGS says that about 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes take place along the ring.

Indonesia Earthquake: Quake Hits Tourist Island Of Lombok

A powerful earthquake has struck an island in Indonesia early on Sunday morning.

The 6.4 magnitude quake hit the central island of Lombok just before 07:00 local time (00:00 UK time).

Indonesia is a country in south-east Asia, while the island of Lombok is somewhere where lots of people go on holiday.

Officials say at least 14 people have been killed and more than 160 people are injured.

Many buildings on the island are made from wood and bamboo.

Thousands of homes have also been damaged by the original earthquake and 11 aftershocks.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the country’s disaster agency, said most people were injured when they were hit by debris and falling blocks of concrete.

He said: “The main focus now is evacuation and rescue. Some of the injured are still being treated at clinics.”

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the earthquake was 50km (31 miles) north-east of the city of Mataram, in northern Lombok.

It was followed by more than 60 smaller earthquakes, with the largest recorded at a magnitude of 5.7.

Mount Rinjani National Park, a popular destination for trekkers, has been closed due to landslides.

In some areas landslides have cut off roads, and the water supply and electricity to houses.

Indonesia often experiences earthquakes because it lies on an area called the Ring of Fire – where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are frequent.

More than half of the world’s active volcanoes above sea level are part of the ring.

In 2016 a magnitude 6.5 quake struck off the north-east coast of Sumatra island, killing dozens of people and more than 40,000 having to leave their homes.

Weird Volcanoes Are Erupting Across the Solar System

NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently spotted a possible new volcano at the south pole of Jupiter’s most lava-licious moon, Io. But this volcanically active moon is not alone in the solar system, where sizzling-hot rocks explode and ooze onto the surface of several worlds. So how do Earthly volcanoes differ from those erupting across the rest of the solar system?

Let’s start with Io. The moon is famous for its hundreds of volcanoes, including fountains that sometimes spurt lava dozens of miles above the surface, according to NASA. This Jupiter moon is constantly re-forming its surface through volcanic eruptions, even to this day. Io’s volcanism results from strong gravitational encounters between Jupiter and two of its large moons, Europa and Ganymede, which shake up Io’s insides.

Rosaly Lopes, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed observations of Io between 1996 and 2001, during the Galileo spacecraft mission to Jupiter.

“Io has lots of caldera-like features, but they are on the surface,” Lopes told Live Science. “There are lots of lava flows and lots of lakes. Lava lakes are pretty rare on Earth. We have half a dozen of them. We think they have occurred in the past on Venus and Mars. But on Io, we actually see lava lakes at the present time.” Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is one such spot on Earth dotted with lava lakes. [Photos: Fiery Lava from Kilauea Volcano Erupts on Hawaii’s Big Island]

Juno scientists asked for Lopes’ help in identifying Io’s newly found hotspot. She said the new observations of Io are welcome, because Galileo was in an equatorial orbit and could rarely see the poles; by contrast, Juno is in a polar orbit and has a much better view. There are some hints that Io might have larger and less-frequent eruptions at the poles, she said, but scientists need more observations to be sure.

Venus and Mars volcanoes are all right tonight
Venus also appears to have active lava flows on its surface, where temperatures reach more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit (425 degrees Celsius). The few Soviet Venera spacecraft that landed there in the 1970s and 1980s lasted only a short while. Lopes said it’s unclear if Venus has active volcanoes currently, although multiple observations from Europe’s past Venus Express mission suggested it might. One example is Idunn Mons, which is a hotspot that may have erupted relatively recently.

Venus has dome volcanoes, or volcanoes with lots of peaks, although these volcanoes might be inactive. This kind of volcano is also common on Earth. A dome volcano is formed from eruptions of viscous (sticky) lava, with only a small percentage of gas that oozes out.

“Volcanologists call it two-face lava, because it hides itself and oozes out,” Lopes said. Mount St. Helens, in Washington state, is one such example, with several of these lava domes dotting its crater. Venus is also populated with other types of volcanoes and volcanic features — pancake domes (which look like pancakes), arachnoids (eroded calderas that look like spiders), lava flows and volcanic plains.

Venus and Mars also have shield volcanoes, a type of volcano made up almost entirely of fluid lava flows. (Shield volcanoes are common on Earth, in Hawaii in particular, Lopes said.) Mars possesses the highest volcano in the solar system — Olympus Mons — and several other monster volcanoes, perhaps because its gravity is lighter than Earth’s and the volcanoes can grow taller.

On Mars, the volcanoes appear to be dormant, as there are no visible recent lava flows on the surface. There’s extensive evidence of past volcanism, though. There are flood plains of basalts, as well as other types of volcanoes that “were formed by more explosive volcanism, because they are highly eroded on the flanks,” Lopes said.

Other worlds in our solar system also had lava volcanism in the ancient past, including Earth’s moon, Mercury and the dwarf planet Ceres, Lopes said. And then there are worlds with possible cryovolcanism — or icy volcanoes — in which the erupting material is water, or water mixed with nitrogen or methane.

There is evidence of active plumes at Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Saturn’s moon Titan may also have past cryovolcanic features on its surface, Lopes’ research has found. Other worlds with possible cryovolcanism include Triton (Neptune’s largest moon), Pluto, and Charon (Pluto’s largest moon).

Longest Total Lunar Eclipse Of 21st Century Wows Star-Gazers For Over 100 Minutes

The longest total lunar eclipse of the century transformed the moon into a reddish orange color for more than 100 minutes, according to NASA.

The eclipse was not visible from North America, Noah Petro, a scientist for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, told ABC News. Star-gazers in areas near the Middle East, south or eastern Africa, western and southeast Asia and India were be able to catch a glimpse of the celestial event as long as the weather permits, Petro said.

In those areas, the totality of the lunar eclipse — when the moon will retain its red color — lasted for about an hour and 42 minutes. The entire event will last about six hours and 13 minutes, Petro said.

Residents in Australia were able to see the lunar eclipse as the moon sets, while those in eastern Brazil and western Europe could see it as the moon is rising.

Petro suggested either renting a boat and driving it to the middle of the Indian Ocean or visiting relatives in Ethiopia for the “best seat in the house.”

A San Antonio couple named Miguel and Sara who experienced the eclipse from Cairo, Egypt described it as a “beautiful” sight.

“It looks like a giant tangerine,” Miguel told ABC News, adding that Cairo” was “a little bit colder than Texas right now.”

Cloudy weather conditions in cities like London, Moscow and Hong Kong obstructed views of the blood moon in those areas.

ABC News correspondent Matt Gutman described the sight of the lunar eclipse from Hong Kong as “more like a gray smudge,” due to the weather.

However, cities like Rome and Cairo, as well as several areas in Africa, had a clear picture of the moon.

In the U.S., the lunar eclipse began around 1:14 p.m. ET, with the maximum period of totality will starting around 4:21 p.m. ET, making it too light outside for the blood moon to be visible, Petro said.

Although U.S. residents weren’t able to see the eclipse, they should still note that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter — NASA’s robotic spacecraft orbiting the moon — experienced it first-hand, Petro said. The LRO was launched in June 2009 to provide detailed maps to identify “safe and interesting” landing sites on the moon for future human and robotic exploration.

“The moon really holds the secret to understanding how the solar system works,” Petro said.

It’s a good time for Americans to start getting excited about the moon, as NASA will begin celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the spaceflight that made astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first two people on the moon, in October, Petro said. Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.

The next total lunar eclipse visible in the U.S. will be on Jan. 21, 2019, according to NASA. It will be a super moon as well, which is a full moon or new moon that coincides with the moon’s position at it’s closest to the Earth.

A partial lunar eclipse — which looks “like someone took a bite out of the moon — will also be visible in the U.S. in July 2019, Petro said. The partial lunar eclipse involves the southern half of the moon passing into the earth’s shadow, he added.

What exactly is a blood moon?

A blood moon is a term used to describe a total lunar eclipse, which is when the moon appears darkened as it passes through the Earth’s shadow.

The total lunar eclipse is given the “blood” nickname because of the “beautiful” red color caused by the projection of all of the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets onto its surface, Petro told ABC News earlier this year, before the super blue blood moon event that took place on Jan. 31.

Yellowstone Super-Volcano Has A Different History Than Previously Thought

The long-dormant Yellowstone super-volcano in the American West has a different history than previously thought, according to a new study by a Virginia Tech geoscientist.

Scientists have long thought that Yellowstone Caldera, part of the Rocky Mountains and located mostly in Wyoming, is powered by heat from the Earth’s core, similar to most volcanoes such as the recently active Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. However, new research published in Nature Geoscience by Ying Zhou, an associate professor with the Virginia Tech College of Science’s Department of Geosciences, shows a different past.

“In this research, there was no evidence of heat coming directly up from the Earth’s core to power the surface volcano at Yellowstone,” Zhou said. “Instead, the underground images we captured suggest that Yellowstone volcanoes were produced by a gigantic ancient oceanic plate that dove under the Western United States about 30 million years ago. This ancient oceanic plate broke into pieces, resulting in perturbations of unusual rocks in the mantle which led to volcanic eruptions in the past 16 million years.”

The eruptions were very explosive, Zhou added. A theoretical seismologist, Zhou created X-ray-like images of the Earth’s deep interior from USArray — part of the Earthscope project funded by the National Science Foundation — and discovered an anomalous underground structure at a depth of about 250 to 400 miles right beneath the line of volcanoes.

“This evidence was in direct contradiction to the plume model,” Zhou said.

In her study, Zhou found the new images of the Earth’s deep interior showed that the oceanic Farallon plate, which used to be where the Pacific Ocean is now, wedged itself beneath the present-day Western United States. The ancient oceanic plate was broken into pieces just like the seafloor in the Pacific today. A section of the subducted oceanic plate started tearing off and sinking down to the deep earth.

The sinking section of oceanic plate slowly pushed hot materials upward to form the volcanoes that now make up Yellowstone. Further, the series of volcanoes that make up Yellowstone have been slowly moving, achingly so, ever since. “The process started at the Oregon-Idaho border about 16 million years ago and propagated northwestward, forming a line of volcanoes that are progressively younger as they stretched northwest to present-day Wyoming,” Zhou added.

The previously-held plume model was used to explain the unique Yellowstone hotspot track — the line of volcanoes in Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming that dots part of the Midwest. “If the North American plate was moving slowly over a position-fixed plume at Yellowstone, it will displace older volcanoes towards the Oregon-Idaho border and form a line of volcanoes, but such a deep plume has not been found.” Zhou said. So, what caused the track? Zhou intends to find out.

“It has always been a problem there, and scientists have tried to come up with different ways to explain the cause of Yellowstone volcanoes, but it has been unsuccessful,” she said, adding that hotspot tracks are more popular in oceans, such as the Hawaii islands. The frequent Geyser eruptions at Yellowstone are of course not volcanic eruptions with magna, but due to super-heated water. The last Yellowstone super eruption was about 630,000 years ago, according to experts. Zhou has no predictions on when or if Yellowstone could erupt again.

The use of the X-ray-like images for this study is unique in itself. Just as humans can see objects in a room when a light is on, Zhou said seismometers can see structures deep within the earth when an earthquake occurs. The vibrations spread out and create waves when they hit rocks. The waves are detected by seismometers and used in what is known as diffraction tomography.

“This is the first time the new imaging theory has been applied to this type of seismic data, which allowed us to see anomalous structures in the Earth’s mantle that would otherwise not be resolvable using traditional methods,” Zhou said.

Zhou will continue her study of Yellowstone. “The next step will be to increase the resolution of the X-ray-like images of the underground rock,” she added.

“More detailed images of the unusual rocks in the deep earth will allow us to use computer simulation to recreate the fragmentation of the gigantic oceanic plate and test different scenarios of how rock melting and magma feeding system work for the Yellowstone volcanoes.”

Sounds Of The Sun: Listen To The Eruption-Revealing Hum Of Our Star

NASA has released a series of sound clips revealing what the motion of our Sun actually sounds like.

For years, scientists have been studying the dynamics of the Solar System, an effort aimed at observing different objects sitting in our neighborhood including its only star — the Sun.

The work, conducted with different space missions, has given us a lot to learn, but despite hosting some of the finest ground and space-based telescopes, we still have no definite way to peer deep inside the corona or the atmosphere of the Sun.

In order to fully understand the dynamics of our star, it is very essential to know what’s happening within it. The lack of tools limits our capacity in this area, but, the data collected by NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the European Space Agency (ESA) has given us a way to hear the vibrations of the star and predict what’s going on there.

Scientists have long known that any material movement, be it on Earth or beyond, generates an accompanying wave. The rule also applies to the Sun and movement occurring on its surface produces waves.

“Waves are traveling and bouncing around inside the Sun, and if your eyes were sensitive enough they could actually see this,” Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement.

The data related to these waves has been captured by SOHO and ESA for over 20 years and scientists at Stanford Experimental Physics Lab have converted that information into sounds. For instance, in this audio, we can hear the vibrations of our star.

These jiggles, as Young described, are helping scientists get an idea of what’s happening inside our Sun. Essentially, the vibrations occur at a different frequency and those frequencies can be used to look inside the sun and study a range of processes, starting from solar flares to coronal mass ejections (CME).

“We don’t have straightforward ways to look inside the Sun. We don’t have a microscope to zoom inside the Sun,” Young added. “So using a star or the Sun’s vibrations allows us to see inside of it.”

The method has helped scientists observe flowing solar material and understand the Sun like never before. The complex movement that occurs inside produces magnetic fields that move up to the surface and create sunspots, which then produce solar flares and CMEs.

“That simple sound is giving us a probe inside of a star. I think that’s a pretty cool thing,” Young said. Additional multimedia related to the sounds of the Sun is available on NASA’s SoundCloud channel and is up for display at the agency’s Goddard Visitor Center.

BREAKING NEWS: West Antarctica Mantle Plume Piercing Through Lithosphere Rising at Surprisingly Rapid Rate

The Earth is rising in one part of Antarctica at one of the fastest rates ever recorded, as ice rapidly disappears and weight is lifted off the surface, a new international study has found.

The findings, reported in the scientific journal Science, have surprising and positive implications for the survival of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which scientists had previously thought could be doomed because of the effects of climate change.

The unexpectedly fast rate of the rising Earth may markedly increase the stability of the ice sheet against catastrophic collapse due to ice loss, scientists say. In other words, due to the natural cyclical events of geophysics correction, the West Antarctic mantle plume has increased its activity bringing viscous rocks closer to the surface.

Moreover, the rapid rise of the Earth in this area also affects gravity measurements, which implies that up to 10 percent more ice has disappeared in this part of Antarctica than previously assumed.

Researchers led by scientists at The Ohio State University used a series of six GPS stations (part of the POLENET-ANET array) attached to bedrock around the Amundsen Sea Embayment to measure its rise in response to thinning ice.

The “uplift rate” was measured at up to 41 millimeters (1.6 inches) a year, said Terry Wilson, one of the leaders of the study and a professor emeritus of Earth sciences at Ohio State.

In contrast, places like Iceland and Alaska, which have what are considered rapid uplift rates, generally are measured rising 20 to 30 millimeters a year. “The rate of uplift we found is unusual and very surprising. It’s a game changer,” Wilson said.

I would suggest events such as this is a continued sign of a geomagnetic shift. In these ‘late/early’ stage, magnetic north will bounce around for a few decades – perhaps dropping close to the equator – then in the laten years, perhaps 50 years from now, a full flip could occur.

And it is only going to get faster. The researchers estimate that in 100 years, uplift rates at the GPS sites will be 2.5 to 3.5 times more rapid than currently observed.

“These results provide an important contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of the Earth’s bedrock, along with the thinning of ice in Antarctica. The large amount of water stored in Antarctica has implications for the whole planet,” said lead study author Valentina R. Barletta, who started this work at Ohio State and now is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

While modeling studies have shown that bedrock uplift could theoretically protect WAIS from collapse, it was believed that the process would take too long to have practical effects.

“We previously thought uplift would occur over thousands of years at a very slow rate, not enough to have a stabilizing effect on the ice sheet. Our results suggest the stabilizing effect may only take decades,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the rapid rise of the bedrock in this part of Antarctica suggests the geology underneath Antarctica is different from what scientists had previously believed.

Underneath the solid upper layer of Earth is a hotter and more fluid layer of rock called the mantle. Exactly how hot and fluid the mantle is varies across the planet.

The rapid uplift around the Amundsen Sea Embayment suggests the mantle in this area is hotter and more fluid (or, as scientists say, it has lower viscosity) than expected, according to Barletta.

Barletta ran a variety of computer models using scenarios of ice loss through time in the area to explain how such rapid uplift could be occurring today.

The results of Barletta’s models showed that the GPS findings today could best be explained by having a low-viscosity mantle, Wilson said.

These new measurements of Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA), the scientific term for uplift due to ice sheet unloading, are an important part of a wider story about the fate of the Antarctic ice sheets, said Doug Kowalewski, the Antarctic Earth Sciences program director in the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs (OPP).

The problem is that much of this area of Antarctica is below sea level. Relatively warm ocean water has flowed in underneath the bottom of the ice sheet, causing thinning and moving the grounding line – where the water, ice and solid Earth meet – further inland.

Another feedback is lowering sea levels. Massive ice sheets along the ocean have their own gravitational pull and raise the sea level near them. But as the ice thins and retreats, the gravitational pull lessens and the sea level near the coast goes down.

“The lowering of the sea level, the rising of pinning points and the decrease of the inland slope due to the uplift of the bedrock are all feedbacks that can stabilize the ice sheet,” Wilson said.


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