Weird news of the day

I found this neato world map of hazards. The Emergency and Disaster information Service from Budapest, Hungary. Earthquakes, volcano eruptions, typhoons, biohazards and more, all posted in real time. Once you see the world map with the icons flashing the hazards you get a sense of just how active the planet is. Many of the items are not commonly known but once posted then I can learn more about them, such as the Legionnaire’s outbreak in Ontario, or the anthrax-ridden rabbit in New Mexico that occurred within the last few days. Sometimes there’s weird or funny events happening, like the argument in New Zealand yesterday whether the brown stuff washing ashore was an algal bloom or “poo.” The scientist had been quoted, “Bunk! People know poo when they see it.”

Here is something else that happened last night:

“Dublin, Ireland (AHN) – Billions of jellyfish, which covered an area of about 10 square miles of ocean, attacked an offshore salmon pen in Northern Ireland on Wednesday killing all the fish.”

“The Northern Salmon Co. Ltd. lost 100,000 salmon worth $2 million at two net pens located one mile off the coast of the Glens of Antrim, north of Belfast. The fish died from stings and stress. Workers failed to rescue salmons on time as the mass of mauve stingers hindered their boats from reaching the pens.”

“The company’s managing director, John Russell, said he had never seen such a massive jellyfish attack in his 30 years in the business. He described the scene as unprecedented and absolutely amazing.”

QOTD: Are there more earthquakes these days?

One thing I got interested in after I saw how seismically active the earth is, with so many volcanoes and earthquakes active at the same time. What is the world’s average seisimicity? First, find the benchmark! Here it is, left. The USGS estimates that since 1900, there are an average of 18 major earthquakes (magnitude 7.0-7.9) and one great earthquake (magnitude 8.0 or greater) per year.

USGS has “Earthquake Information by Year” here. They don’t make trending to compare against the benchmark very easy. I was unable to find total seismicity by year, only ‘significant earthquakes by year.’ So that makes comparing numbers of earthquakes against the historical averages, left, unwieldy. However, I did find a listing of earthquakes greater than magnitude 8since 1900. Very reliable historical trending. There has been an average of one or two quakes of that mag. per year and 36 years when there were none of that mag at all. In 2007…there have been 4 so far!

I created the chart below from data listed from USGS, criterion: “significant quakes worldwide greater than 6.5 or with significant damage, injury, or fatality”:


PS: since starting research there has been another earthquake this morning, “A 6.7 magnitude earthquake rattled eastern Papua New Guinea on Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.”

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