The people of Southern California and northern Baja California waiting for “The Big One”

The people of Southern California and northern Baja California waiting for “The Big One”

Nov 14, 2017

A 4.6-magnitude earthquake hit Monterey County in California on Monday November 13 —and it was felt as far as 90 miles away in San Francisco.  The earthquake occurred near the San Andreas Fault at a depth of about four miles. No injuries or damage were reported, and as of Monday evening, the U.S. Geological Survey reported a low likelihood of causalities and damage. The structures in this area are highly resistant to earthquake shaking, according to the USGS, but some vulnerable structures exist. The quake was felt as a weak or light earthquake as far as San Francisco, but moderate shakes were reported by the USGS in areas with a very low population. The earthquake hit at 11:31 a.m. Monday November 13, about 13 miles northeast of Gonzales, California. The quake had nine smaller aftershocks—the strongest aftershock measuring at a 2.8-magnitude, Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey told SFGate. The earthquake epicenter was in rural areas of mountains between the Salinas Valley and the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Times reported. A kid touches a crack on a wall at his damaged home in the community of Oaxaca, on the outskirts of Mexicali April 7, 2010. Scared families south of the Mexico-California border readied to sleep outside for a second night on Monday after a big earthquake tore cracks in roads and houses and dozens of aftershocks rattled the area. Reuters Baltay told SFGate that this type of earthquake is typical behavior. “It’s as if someone put an oil can into the fault and lubricated it,” she said. The San Andreas Fault runs from the Gulf of California north to the region of Cape Mendocino. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the slip rate on the fault is about four-fifths of an inch each year, according to the USGS. October 1989 was when the last major earthquake—Loma Prieta—associated with the San Andreas Fault occurred. Back then, that earthquake resulted in 64 deaths, and additionally, 16,000 homes and apartment units were damaged and rendered uninhabitable. In the wake of the deadly earthquake in Iran and Iraq—which measured at a magnitude of 7.3—the next big earthquake in California has long been a looming concern. In Southern California—where the most recent moderate earthquake hit—there...

San Diego’s Natural History museum opens its drawers to public

San Diego’s Natural History museum opens its drawers to public

Nov 14, 2017

Like most museums, the Nat in Balboa Park has far more specimens in its collection than it could ever put on display. So on Nov. 18 it’s opening a new exhibition it’s billing as “cool stuff from storage.”   Stuff like the jaw from a giant sperm whale. A 20-foot-long skin from an anaconda. A wall of skulls. “Most visitors don’t get to see our treasure trove — rows upon rows of shelves, drawers and crates holding millions of plant and animal specimens,” Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO of the natural history museum, said in a statement. “A look behind the scenes in our storage areas is like a cross-section of the diversity of nature itself.” Formally titled “Unshelved,” the exhibit is drawn from the 8 million items the museum has been collecting since it was established by a small group of citizen scientists in 1874. Although the museum’s research focus is on Southern California and Baja California, some items in the collection come from all over the world, which is why the new exhibit will include an emperor penguin and huge bats, as well as taxidermied birds, tiny beetles, gems and minerals. Some of the specimens have never been exhibited before, according to museum officials. “Unshelved,” located on Level Two, will be in place for two years. The exhibit is included with the price of admission. The museum also has two companion events scheduled. Its monthly Family Day, Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature hands-on activities and crafts for kids. On Nov. 21, at 7 p.m., museum scientists will discuss their favorite items from storage in an event called “What’s In Our Drawers.” Admission requires a separate ticket. The museum calls itself the second-oldest scientific institution in California and the third-oldest west of the Mississippi. It’s open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, daily (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas)....

Papaya a natural ally against cancer

Papaya a natural ally against cancer

Oct 28, 2017

Expert lauds the tropical fruit’s many curative attributes…. MERIDA — Because of its high content of nutrients, vitamins and medicinal properties, papaya helps to prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, skin and eyes maladies, but it has a very low consumption among the population, said Patricia Esquivel Rodríguez, Ph.d. in Food Science and research professor at the University of Costa Rica, at the 5th International Seminar of Papaya, held at the Hotel El Conquistador in Paseo de Montejo. The scientist has carried out studies on the daily consumption of this fruit, of the red variety. She recommends that the perfect age to start consumption is at 4 years-old to take an advantage of its healthy properties. She noted that at least 300 grams of raw fruit should be eaten daily, and especially red papaya that has high lipotene and caratenoid content, anti-cancer elements, and is a rich source of antioxidants. To fight against the lack inclusion of papaya in the daily diet, Dr. Esquivel Rodriguez created a puree treated with heat so that it conserves its properties, and now that fruit “smoothies” for weight reduction are in fashion, the puree has greater consumption in the population. Source:...

Revillagigedo seeks to become largest Marine Protected Area in North America

Revillagigedo seeks to become largest Marine Protected Area in North America

Oct 22, 2017

The Mexican government last week announced the creation of a new marine reserve in the Pacific Ocean, the largest protected area of its kind in North America. Alejandro Del Mazo Maza, representing Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, announced the massive expansion of the Revillagigedo marine park on Thursday, October 5 at the Our Ocean conference in Malta. The park covers more than 57,000 square miles, a vast rectangle of ocean encompassing the four Revillagigedo Islands, small volcanic land masses under Mexico’s control that lie about 240 miles southwest of Baja California. The islands are uninhabited except for a small Mexican naval presence and were named a World Heritage Site in 2016 for their unique biodiversity (the reserve is also the location for the photo that won the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest in 2015.) “With the goal of guaranteeing maximum protection of this World Heritage Site, our national legislation’s strongest conservation category will be used, and all forms of fishing will be prohibited,” Del Mazo said in a statement. He also said that Mexico will not permit the construction of hotel facilities on the islands. Previously, the islands had been protected by a small reserve that included only the waters up to six miles off the land. That left important feeding and migration areas for sharks, rays, whales, and other species in the path of fishermen – who either target the species, often illegally, or catch them accidentally as bycatch. But the new park is designed to protect critical habitat for those animals, as well as corals and other fish. No fishing, mining, or other intensive resource development will be allowed in the newly expanded marine reserve. Read the full article...

Category 3 hurricane Ophelia hits… Ireland?

Category 3 hurricane Ophelia hits… Ireland?

Oct 16, 2017

On Wednesday October 11, Tropical storm Ophelia strengthened into hurricane according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) while on Thursday October 12 it reached category 2 storm with winds in excess of 100mph (161 km/h). “Three days later, on Saturday October 14, Hurricane Ophelia strengthened off the Azores islands in the northern Atlantic Ocean and it passed to the south of the archipelago later that day before taking aim at the British Isles”, NHC said, adding that strengthening was possible over the next 48 hours. Ophelia, rare for its location and a powerful Category 3 storm with top sustained winds of 114 mph (185 km/h), was the sixth major hurricane of the Atlantic season. On its Twitter account NASA SPoRT ✔@NASA_SPoRT published: The NHC expects a “gradual weakening” on Sunday, although Ophelia could “remain powerful over the next few days as it approaches Ireland.” Ophelia is the tenth tropical storm to strengthen to a hurricane in the Atlantic, making of this year the first in more than a century in which ten Atlantic storms have reached hurricane strength consecutively. On Twitter, the NHC issued an advisory saying Ophelia will likely bring direct impacts to Ireland and the UK as a post-tropical cyclone. And as predicted, Ophelia strengthened developing winds gusts above 120 mph (187 km per hour), and hit the Irish coast where today Monday, October 16, there are already two people who unfortunately lost their lives because of this hurricane. Source: El...

Mexico fears eruption from Popocatepetl after earthquakes

Mexico fears eruption from Popocatepetl after earthquakes

Oct 8, 2017

The 5,426-metre high Popocatepetl volcano is the most active in Mexico, with more than 15 major eruptions reported since 1519. But the volcano, which is also referred to by Mexicans as El Popo, is now causing other problems in the region as neighbours report rivers of mud flowing from the skirt of the mountain following a recent mini eruption. Experts at geological news service Sismologia Mundial reported the plume as a “mild eruption” and confirmed Popocatepetl is now “normal”. But now neighbours have warned large rivers of mud from the volcano have flowed into the streets over the last three days, reaching the municipalities of Atlautla and Ozumba. On 19 September a deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico City and triggered a volcanic eruption. The Popocatepetl volcano burst into life at the same time as the earthquake, which killed at least 248 people, and sent plumes of thick, black smoke into the sky. And during the eruption a church collapsed during mass, killing 15 people, in Atzitzihuacan on the slopes of the volcano, Puebla Governor Jose Antonio Gali said. The landslides after the earthquake created a dam, which with the constant rains has been washed away, dragging tons of mud to the lower parts, especially in Nexpayantla. Since the earthquake, the neighbours of these communities, the most affected ones, say they can no longer sleep peacefully as they fear what could happen. GETTY The volcano is also referred to by Mexicans as El Popo Last year, Popo erupted for the first time since 2000 when ash was propelled a staggering three kilometres into the sky. Since then, there have been several eruptions. The eruption comes after a spate of volcanic activity around the world – with all eyes on the Agung volcano in Bali which is showing signs of erupting....