21 December 2012
On Tuesday, local seismologists reported that the erupting Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East is spilling a record 1,200 metric tons (1,323 US tons) of lava every second. The 3,085-metre-high (10,122-feet-high) Plosky Tolbachik, which is part of a volcanic complex located 343 kilometres (213 miles) from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of Kamchatka Krai, erupted on 27 November for the first time in 36 years.
Gennady Karpov, a deputy director at the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the RAN, said, “This year’s eruption is very powerful. During the Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption in 1975, the volcano spilled on average 40 cubic metres of magma per second, at present, its ‘productivity’ is about 400 cubic metres (14,125 cubic feet) or 1,200 tons per second”. The volcano has spewed lava from two fissures along its southern slope, with the upper flow descending 6 kilometres (3.75 miles) and the lower flow descending 13.6 kilometres (8.5 miles). The flow from the upper fissure has almost stopped, but it could resume at any moment as the volcano continues to produce magma, Karpov said at a meeting with local officials, adding, “If the activity at the upper fissure resumes, we’ll face a real danger”, noting that the eruption is already at Red Code status.
Lava flows spewing from the volcano earlier caused a forest fire and destroyed buildings at two research bases located 10 kilometres (6.25 miles) from the mountain. Volcanic ash fell in nearby communities forcing local residents to take shelter in their homes. The Plosky Tolbachik erupted 10 times since records began in 1740, with the most notable eruption in 1975, commonly known as The Great Tolbachik Fissure Eruption. Soviet scientists successfully predicted the eruption because a series of earthquakes preceded it. The 1975 eruption dramatically changed the local landscape; it became an ecological disaster, as the volume of lava and ashes emitted by the Plosky Tolbachik was the largest in recorded history of Kamchatka. There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka, 30 of them active.
11 December 2012
This week, a rotting whale carcass washed ashore in California just a stone’s throw from the multimillion-dollar Malibu homes of some of Hollywood’s richest and most famous stars. It’s creating a stink between the various government agencies in the area over just who’s responsible for cleaning up the mess. Tamara Dunn, who lives right next to Paradise Cove, where the young whale landed, said in an interview with KNX Newsradio, “He’s pretty funky now. I don’t know how they’re gonna get him out. They talked about taking him out in pieces because he’s so big, the Coast Guard can’t drag him back out to sea”. The smelly problem’s 40 feet (12 meters) long, and weighs 40,000 pounds (18,000 kilograms).
Marine experts performed a necropsy and said it was a young fin whale (an endangered species). It might’ve fallen victim to one of the many ships that pass through the nearby port of Long Beach, one of the busiest on the West Coast. Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center, according to local news service Malibu Patch, said, “The traumatic injury that we discovered is consistent with a ship strike”. Meanwhile, KTLA television reported the City of Malibu thought that Los Angeles County would take care of it… but the county says the pristine sandy shores of Little Dume where the carcass washed up is a private beach, so, it isn’t their responsibility. Whilst the various government entities scramble to find the proof that the animal didn’t come to rest in their particular jurisdictions, some locals told RIA-Novosti it wasn’t that bad… or that unusual.
Nevertheless, the thought of a stinky, rotting carcass fouling the pristine sands and ocean airs that cool the beachfront homes of megastars like Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, Martin Sheen, and more? It was just too tempting for the media to resist. A few local news agencies reported the story; then, national media from the AP to ABC News quickly picked it up. There are photos and videos, but there’s no easy solution. A Malibu PD cop told RIA-Novosti, “It still stinks. It’s not getting any better. In fact, it’s getting worse”.
Of course, whilst the debate rages on, the whale’s body is decomposing… that means that towing it out to sea as is sometimes done in such cases is no longer an option. The area is also rocky, which makes for a difficult burial. That means option three may be the most likely scenario… just letting the rotting creature stay where it is until it slowly rots away. That’s not likely to make homeowners in the area very happy. The Malibu cop, who declined to give his name, said, “These are the upper echelon of the upper echelon”. As for the stars who live nearby? The cop joked, “They always complain, but nobody else really cares. It’s not like anyone’s talking about this at Starbucks”.
7 December 2012
I’ll bet you any amount that a local pol is getting even with a personal enemy here. It sounds like a chronic complainer is getting their comeuppance. “I’m sorry… the county only has jurisdiction over public lands. That’s private property, and it’s not a health or safety hazard. You’ll have to take care of it yourself”. That’s the way of it in the real world…