The Language of Ravens

Ravens Use ‘Hand’ Gestures to Communicate

Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 29 November 2011 Time: 11:11 AM ET
male raven gestures with its beak to two other ravens
The researchers found that ravens often use their beaks like hands to make gestures, such as this male raven is doing as the bird shows two of its kin an object in its beak.
CREDIT: Thomas Bugnyar

Ravens use their beaks and wings much like humans rely on our hands to make gestures, such as for pointing to an object, scientists now find.

This is the first time researchers have seen gestures used in this way in the wild by animals other than primates.

From the age of 9 to 12 months, human infants often use gestures to direct the attention of adults to objects, or to hold up items so that others can take them. These gestures, produced before children speak their first words, are seen as milestones in thedevelopment of human speech.

Dogs and other animals are known to point out items using gestures, but humans trained these animals, and scientists had suggested the natural development of these gestures was normally confined only to primates, said researcher Simone Pika, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. Even then, comparable gestures are rarely seen in the wild in our closest living relatives, the great apes — for instance, chimpanzees in the Kibale National Park in Uganda employ so-called directed scratches to indicate distinct spots on their bodies they want groomed.

Still, ravens and their relatives such as crows and magpies have been found to be remarkably intelligent over the years, surpassing most other birds in terms of smarts and even rivaling great apes on some tests.

“[What] I noticed when I encountered ravens for the first time is that they are, contrary to my main focus of research, chimpanzees, a very object-oriented species,” Pika said. “It reminded me of my childhood, when my twin brother and I were still little and one of us suddenly regained a favorite toy, which existence both of us had forgotten for a little while. This toy suddenly became the center of interest, fun and competition. Similar things happen, when ravens play with each other and regain objects.”

Beak gestures

To see if ravens communicated using gestures, scientists investigated wild ravens in Cumberland Wildpark in Grünau, Austria. Each bird was individually tagged to help identify them.

A male raven approaches two other ravens showing an object in its beak.
A male raven approaches two other ravens showing an object in its beak.
CREDIT: Thomas Bugnyar

The researchers saw the ravens use their beaks much like hands to show and offer items such as moss, stones and twigs. These gestures were mostly aimed at members of the opposite sex and often led those gestured at to look at the objects. The ravens then interacted with each other — for example, by touching or clasping their bills together, or by manipulating the item together. As such, these gestures might be used to gauge the interest of a potential partner or strengthen an already existing bond.

“Most exciting is how a species, which does not represent the prototype of a ‘gesturer’ because it has wings instead of hands, a strong beak and can fly, makes use of very sophisticated nonvocal signals,” Pika told LiveScience.

Origin of gestures

Ravens are known to possess a relatively high degree of cooperation between partners. These findings suggest that gestures evolved in a species that demonstrates a high degree of collaborative abilities, a discovery that might shed light on the origin of gestureswithin humans.

“Gesture studies have too long focused on communicative skills of primates only,” Pika said. “The mystery of the origins of human language, however, can only be solved if we look at the bigger picture and also consider the complexity of the communication systems of other animal groups.”

As to whether or not these findings suggest that ravens are smarter than dogs, “I am not an advocate of proposing that a given species is smarter than another one,” Pika said. “In my view, all species have adapted to distinct social and ecological settings and niches, and thus, a given species might behave in a distinct situation ‘smarter’ than another one in the same situation and vice versa. In my opinion, it is much more interesting to investigate why one species can solve a given task better than another one and how and why this behavior evolved.”

Pika and her colleagues would like to further explore what other gestures ravens use and what their meaning and function might be. Pika and Thomas Bugnyar detailed their findings online Nov. 29 in the journal Nature Communications


PPhillipines Earthquake

Strong earthquake in the Philippines

Last update: November 30, 2011 at 1:23 am by By 

Earthquake overview : A strong earthquake occurred in the Philippines at 00:27 UTC. Preliminary data are reporting the epicenter at 152 km from Dagupan, Luzon

Shaking map Philippines November 30 earthquake – image courtesy USGS

Update : the epicenter of the earthquake is almost on top of the subduction fault line along the coast

Update : An intensity II (Phivolcs scale) has been reported in  Quezon City; Manila; Mandaluyong City; Ortigas, Pasig; Makati City; Obando, Bulacan; Baguio City

Update : Phivolcs reports a magnitude of 6.0 at a depth of 16km. The epicenter following Phivolcs is 94 km from Paluig.

Update : MMI Values and nearest cities (K stands for 1000 people) :
V    Bolitoc    3k
V    Bani    3k
V    Palauig    3k
V    Lucapon    6k
V    Ilio-ilio 2k
V    Masinloc 28k
IV    Agoo 29k
IV    Castillejos 27k
IV    Binmaley 57k
IV    Binmaley 44k
IV    Binmaley 68k
V = moderate shaking, IV = light shaking
Moderate and light shaking are seldom generating damage.

Update : 196,000 people will have experienced a moderate MMI V shaking, 1,032,000 people a light shaking and much more a weak shaking

Update : WAPMERR, the theoretical damage engine confirms our own estimates and reports to expect 0 injured and 0 killed people.

Update : A tsunami has NOT to be feared

Update : does not expect any serious damage out of this earthquake

Update : Luckily the epicenter is at least 80 km out of the coast

Update : USGS has just disclosed the data from this earthquake. USGS reports a magnitude of 6.0

Update : EMSC reports a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 80 km. Other agencies are still calculating the data

to read more, and for updates, go to:

Dr. Jeff Master’s Review of 2011 Hurricane Season

Posted by: JeffMasters, 4:08 PM GMT on November 28, 2011 +16
Wednesday marks the final day of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, and it was another very odd year. The season featured a huge number of named storms–nineteen–tying 2011 with 2010, 1995, and 1887 as the 3rd busiest year for tropical storms. Only 2005 and 1933 had more named storms since record keeping began in 1851. However, 2011 had an unusually low percentage of its named storms reach hurricane strength. The year started out with eight consecutive tropical storms that failed to reach hurricane strength–the first time on record the Atlantic has seen that many storms in row not reach hurricane strength. We had a near-average average number of hurricanes in 2011–seven–meaning that only 37% of this year’s named storms made it to hurricane strength. Normally, 55 – 60% of all named storms intensify to hurricane strength in the Atlantic. There were three major hurricanes in 2011, which is one above average, and the total Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE)–a measure of the destructive potential of this season’s storms–was about 20% above average. The rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic is no doubt at least partially responsible for 2011’s unusually high count of named storms, but near-average number of hurricanes and ACE. Both 2010 and 2011 had nineteen named storms, making it the second busiest 2-year period in the Atlantic behind 2004 – 2005. Even when one considers that 2 – 4 tropical storms from both 2010 and 2011 would likely have been missed before the advent of satellites, the tropical storm activity of 2010 – 2011 is still very remarkable (in 2011, Tropical Storm Franklin, Tropical Storm Jose, and the unnamed 19th tropical storm of September 1 would probably have been missed before satellite technology came along, since they were all weak, short-lived storms that did not impact land or shipping.)

FIgure 1. Tracks for the Atlantic tropical cyclones of 2011.

Another below-average hurricane season for the U.S.
For the second consecutive year, despite a near-record number of named storms in the Atlantic, the U.S. had far fewer strikes by tropical storms and hurricanes than average. Favorable steering currents steered most of the storms in 2010 and 2011 past Bermuda and out to sea. During 2010, only one tropical storm hit the U.S., despite a season with the 3rd highest number of named storms–nineteen. Only two named storms hit the U.S. in 2011: Tropical Storm Lee, which hit Louisiana with 60 mph winds, and Hurricane Irene, which hit North Carolina on August 27 with 85 mph winds, and made two additional landfalls in New Jersey and New York the next day. Tropical Storm Don hit Texas on July 29 as a tropical depression and did not count as a landfalling named storm, according to post analysis by NHC. Wind shear and dry air from the Texas drought made Don rapidly weaken before landfall on Padre Island National Seashore north of Brownsville. During the 15-year active hurricane period from 1995 – 2009, 33% of all named storms in the Atlantic hit the U.S., and 30% of all Atlantic hurricanes hit the U.S. at hurricane strength. The U.S. averaged seeing six named storms per year, with four of them being hurricanes and two being intense hurricanes. Thus, the landfall of only three named storms in a two-year period is a major departure from what happened the previous fifteen years. The past six years is the first six-year period without a major hurricane strike on the U.S. since 1861 – 1868. The last major hurricane to hit the U.S. was Category 3 Hurricane Wilma of October 2005. One caveat to keep in mind, though: Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav of 2008 both hit the U.S. as strong Category 2 hurricanes, and had central pressures characteristic of Category 3 hurricanes. Had these storms occurred more than 65 years ago, before the Hurricane Hunters, Ike and Gustav would likely have been classified as Category 3 hurricanes at landfall (assuming that few quality wind observations would have been available at landfall, which is usually the case.)

Figure 2. The scene in Nassau in the Bahamas at daybreak on August 25, 2011 during Hurricane Irene. Image credit: Wunderblogger Mike Theiss.

Figure 3. The eye of Hurricane Irene as seen by hurricane hunter and wunderblogger LRandyB on August 24, 2011, when the hurricane was approaching the Bahama Islands.

The strongest, deadliest and longest-lived storms of 2011
The strongest hurricane of 2011 was Hurricane Ophelia, which peaked as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds and a central pressure of 940 mb on October 2, when it was just northeast of Bermuda. Ophelia hit Southeast Newfoundland as a tropical storm with 70 mph winds on October 3, but caused little damage. The strongest hurricane at landfall was Hurricane Irene, whose 120-mph eyewall winds raked Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay, Cat Island, Eleuthera, and Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Wind gusts as high as 140 mph were reported in the Bahamas.The longest-lived storm of 2011 was Hurricane Phillipe, which lasted 15 days, from September 24 to October 8. The most damaging storm was Hurricane Irene, which caused an estimated $7.2 billion in damage from North Carolina to New England, according to re-insurance broker AON Benfield. Irene was also the deadliest storm of 2011, with 55 deaths in the Caribbean and U.S.

Figure 3. Pre-season Atlantic hurricane season forecasts issued by seven major forecast groups. The average of these forecasts called for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes, and an ACE index 150% of normal. The actual numbers were 19 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE index 120% of normal.

Pre-season hurricane forecasts did a decent job
The pre-season Atlantic hurricane season forecasts issued by seven major forecast groups were generally decent. The average of these forecasts called for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes, and an ACE index 150% of normal. The actual numbers were 19 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE index 120% of normal. Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray of Colorado State will be releasing their end-of-season verification and summary of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season on November 30.

Figure 4. Portlight volunteers at work in Pink Hill, North Carolina, after Hurricane Irene.

Portlight disaster relief efforts for 2011
My favorite disaster relief charity,, has posted a summary of their efforts during the hurricane season of 2011. Portlight mobilized in the wake of Hurricane Irene to help out in North Carolina, Delaware, and Maryland on cleanup efforts, food, and supply distribution. Portlight also provided financial assistance to survivors, including a commercial fisherwoman and single mother of two who lost her boat and home in the storm, after having been diagnosed with breast cancer two days before Irene struck. See the portlight blog for the full story; donations are always welcome.

November 27-December 3

I was away all last week, and was unable to finish the Chromoscope before now.  It will be updated shortly.

Sunday, November 27:    Yellow Gold

There is something in the air today that will surprise you while at the sane time bringing you revelations and understanding about an issue, or possibly more, that has been bothering you for sometime.  Along with that, if you are open there is something within people in general today that can bring about an appreciation for the greater whole.  As that happens, you can find yourself moving more and more towards community.  All of the energies are open to awareness and self knowledge.  This is a good time for going within,. meditating, creating, and knowing things within your Core Self that you had not before realized.  The energy of the day is strange and new, but comforting.  Allow yourself to be with it.

Monday, November 28:    Bright Yellow

Things are getting very bright all around you, and it is important not to allow yourself to be blinded by the light. Rather use the extra illumination to see things for what they truly are.  There are those out there who are playing games and they feel that they can have the upper hand because people do not know what they are doing. You are in charge of what you do and what you choose.  Do not allow yourself to be swayed by others for any reason, especially because it is being nice.  Nice ultimately does not get you anywhere.  This is a time to honor and come into your own power.  You know what is right for you, and you must follow your intuition.  The deeper messages that are coming your way will help you see the patterns and the meanings behind all that is going on at this time.  It is important now to be aware of things.  That way, you will understand the movement of the energies as they cascade in with the times.

Crystal Energy:    Brown Tourmaline—-This stone casts a healing vibration on the lower abdomen and the legs, allowing one to move forward in things that were stuck.  Resonates with the Navel Chakra.

Tuesday, November 29:    Bright Orange

Issues will be arising today concerning your life path, what you are doing,m what you are wanting, what you are proposing, and what you are lacking.  You know these are all conversations and issues that you should have dealt with a long time ago.  The current energies favor looking at things straight in the eye, knowing what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, what you can change, and what you cannot.  There is help for you in this endeavor, and from the most unexpected places.  Today is a day of mystery and unfolding.  Take hold of the frequency and let it move through you.  You can find that much is clearer.  And at the end of the day, there is some fun.

Wednesday, November 30:    Deep Blue

Things that you have not/had not thought about for a very, very long time are coming to the surface now.  This can cause emotional outbursts, confusion, and sentimentality.  You need to deal with each thing individually and for what it is.  You have changed.  That does not change the past, but it changes how you look at and are affected by the past.  This is a day for moving ahead or staying where you are.  The choice is, as always, yours.  There is no right or wrong, there is only what you are wanting at this point in time and what you are willing to accept.   Take time with things today and allow yourself the space to know what is truly right for you.  This can be the beginning of a lot of very new and very exciting things.

Crystal Energy:    Elbaite Tourmaline—–This stone works to unify all the disparate and varied elements of the self into a consistent whole through the energies of the knowing heart.  Resonates with the Heart Chakra.

Thursday, December 1:    Bright Blue

Dreams begin today.   And expectations.  Let it roll.  Dreams can come true, but who knows how, who knows when.  So take time out today to dream.  There is nothing to be lost, and much to be discovered.  Speak your truth and you will be heard and understood by those who, in the long run, truly matter.  Hedge, pretend, make nice and you will hear the emptiness of it all, but there are those who will take it seriously.  This can become an issue later on.  Know your heart.  Go within.  You know more than you give yourself credit for.  ANd you know it clearly and unequivocally.  It is time to sing your song, live your dream, and be your WHO.  Look around.  There is assistance if you will just allow.

Crystal Energy:    Blue Topaz—-The energy of this stone focuses purpose, when modulated with peace and compassion, to bring protection and fulfillment.  It hears and takes care.  Resonates with the Throat and Third Eye Chakras.

Friday, December 2:    Opera Blue

Go with the flow, both today and tomorrow.  If you have made plans, then take time to know what it is right to do, what needs to be done, what can be overlooked, and how you feel about the whole thing.  It comes down, basically, to you, to what you want, what you honor, what you desire, what you will and what you will not.  This is not a time for fear, and if you will take time to analyze your fears, you will discover that many of them are tagged to old programs and beliefs —- many of which you are choosing to release.  So take time in the energy of this day to do and be what is right for WHO you are.  There is no one you need to impress.  Those who are truly your friends, family, and community accept you always for yourself.  Take time to know that, to let go of a lot of stuff, and to relax.  It can all work out if you will just allow.

Crystal Energy:    Scolecite—-The energy of this mineral works with those who are feeling less than, fearful, and guilty to allow them to see through these things to the truth behind them.  Resonates with the Crown Chakra.

Saturday, December 3:    Lime Green

Things are going to be shifting and changing almost on a moment to moment basis today.  Just let it be, and take time to go withing.  There is a lot of uncertainty in the air today, much fueled by expectations from the past. You can accept them or not.  There is nothing wrong in either option today.  The important things here is to be centered and to work from your core self.  Where there is authenticity, there is knowledge. and where there is knowledge there is acceptance and manifestation.  Yes, you can do it all.  You just need to know that.  But first, be certain of what it is that you desire.  Once again, be careful what you wish for…

Crystal energy:    Albite—-This mineral works with that which is fluid on all levels.  It assists in moving things through.  Resonates with all chakras.


Landslides fr/September Earthquake — Sikkim/Darjeeling

Earthquake induced landslides in the Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas

Last update: November 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm by By 


Aftermath of the 18th September 2011 Sikkim earthquake

By : Indranil Chakraborty, Dr. Saibal Ghosh, Debasish Bhattacharya & Anjan Bora, Engineering Geology Division, Geological Survey of India, Eastern Region, Kolkata


According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) 1, a strong earthquake of Magnitude M: 6.8 shook Sikkim and Darjeeling areas of India and adjoining Nepal at 18.11 hours IST on 18th September 2011 with its epicenter (27.7oN, 88.2oE) lying near the Sikkim-Nepal border, about 68 km northwest of Gangtok, Sikkim with the depth of its hypocenter at about 10 km. As per the USGS estimates 2, the epicenter of this strong earthquake (6.9 Mw) lies slightly west of the location shown by IMD. This earthquake was widely felt in Sikkim, West Bengal to Rajasthan in the west and the northeastern states of India, and also in Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. This major earthquake triggered several landslides in the region and a large number of which were studied during a recent post-earthquake fieldtrip (22-29 September 2011) to the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas. The fieldwork was planned within four days’ of the event to the worst-affected areas in Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas that are accessible by roads. The aim of this study was to rapidly assess the damage caused by these earthquake induced landslides along with collection of the relevant landslide-related attributes for inventory and further study.
It is also pertinent to mention here that moderate to heavy monsoon rainfall prior to the occurrence of 18th September 2011 earthquake, during and post earthquake event is reported from some areas, which perhaps also contributed to some extent in lowering the shearing strengths of already-loosened (due to earthquake shaking) slope forming mass and ultimately triggered some landslides at selected locations just immediately after the earthquake shock. Due to this reason, it was considered wise to name these landslides as earthquake induced landslides instead of the co-seismic landslides in truest sense. Although, present field observation took due care not to mix up with landslides that are triggered by rainfall prior to 18th September earthquake.

Study area & Seismicity

The study area falls within the Lesser and Higher Himalayan regions with an elevation ranging from 65 m (around Dudhia, Darjeeling District) through 800-1200 m around Ranipul, Mangan, 1400 m around Darjeeling, 1800-2200 m around Gangtok, Pelling, Ravangla to 2800–3200 m around Kyangsla (near Nathula) with elevations increasing gradually from south to north. In the Lesser Himalayas towards south, the slope is gentler and in the undulating stretches, numerous streams and rivulets flow along the depression and finally join with the trunk streams. In the Higher Himalayan terrain, the topography is highly rugged, characterized by steep slopes with prominent gully erosion. The Tista-Rangit water divide is the main north-south water divide within the Sikkim Himalayas. Another north-south water divide is between Lachen Chu & Lachung Chu which starts at about 3000 m and slowly increases up to 6700 m. North of Dikchu, steep ridges on the eastern side are there but of smaller extent as the Tista valley is sub-divided by the water divide between Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu. On the western part long ridges are present – these are Talang Chu and Zemu Chu water divide. Geologically, the mountainous regions of the Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas are part of the active Himalayan Fold-Thrust Belt (FTB), which is geologically and structurally complex exposing a number of overturned (towards south) and thrusted sequence of variably metamorphosed pelitic and psammitic rocks over Mesozoic (Gondwanas) and foreland rocks composed of Tertiary (Siwaliks) sediments in the south3.
As per the Seismic Zonation Map of India4 the state of Sikkim comes under Seismic Zone IV – a zone of considerable vulnerability. The nearby region in the further north comes under Zone V and is highly susceptible to moderate to major earthquakes. In this area, most of the previous earthquakes were of shallow focus (< 40 km) and are commonly of 4.5 to 5.5 Magnitudes on the Richter scale. The regional distribution of earthquakes and lineaments/faults in Sikkim and adjoining Darjeeling areas indicates that a number of past moderate (M 5.0 to 5.9) and slight (M 3 to 5) earthquakes5 are clustered around the Tista Lineament trending NW-SE direction. Northern extension of the Tista lineament cuts across the NE-SW trending Kanchanjungha lineament. Another NW-SE trending lineament marked as a fault along the Tista River between Lachen and Chungthang (and further southeast) appears to have been the cause of some high Magnitude earthquakes in the region6.

Fig. 1: Map showing locations of 18 September 2011 Sikkim earthquake induced landslides observed along important road-corridors in Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas (in background multi-spectral IRS P-IV Satellite’s LISS III image of 2005 was used). The locations are plotted using Geographic Coordinates in Latitudes/Longitudes using WGS 84 global datum and UTM projection parameters.

Earthquake induced landslides

Due to the 18th September 2011 Sikkim earthquake (M: 6.8), several “new” and a few “reactivated” landslides have occurred right from the Himalayan foot-hill region (e.g., Dudhia in Kurseong Sub-division, Darjeeling District, West Bengal) up to the higher Himalayan range in the higher reaches of Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas. The new landslides that occurred in the lower elevations are mostly concentrated within the terrace deposits of trunk streams such as Tista, Rangit and Balason etc. and within the old colluvial deposits on the lower reaches of slope adjacent to trunk streams (e.g., Jorethang-Rishi-Legship section along the right bank of Rangit river). In the slopes having steep relief, the frequencies of rock/debris fall are more than to slides, whereas field observation clearly indicated that proximal to epicentral region, frequencies of both rock fall and rock slides are much higher than the debris/soil slides and the same are more concentrated towards the crest of steep ridges. Recent field observation of the landslide-related damages further indicated that lithology and geomorphology also played a significant role in causing these earthquake induced landslides. The debris-laden slope which is made of loose unconsolidated material and the slope covered by thin unconsolidated scree deposits have been more prone to failure by this earthquake. Frequency of rock fall and rockslides are more in areas which are generally vulnerable due to steep slope, weathered and fractured lithology and unfavourably jointed and kinematically-unstable slopes.

for more, go to:

El Hierro Update

El Hierro Volcano (Canary Islands) : Red alert – A Sunday full with volcano action (including images and videos)

Last update: November 28, 2011 at 12:22 am by By 

This is the most recent El Hierro Volcano eruption report

 Data Update 27/11 – 23:50 

– A total of 16 earthquakes today
– Only 6 earthquakes were M 1.5 or greater
– the extremely shallow El Golfo 1.9 earthquake from this morning was not followed by other shallow quakes(luckily)
– harmonic tremor wad severe to very strong today and is still continuing that way around midnight. The IGN graph shows very strong tremor in between 20:00 and 21:00 and very strong again with a lot of powerful bursts from 22:00 on until the time of this update.

Update 27/11 – 23:30 
Jesus Perez Quintero, the person in charge for Safety at El Pinar was aboard of the Salvamar when the ship navigated to the eruption spot this morning and this afternoon (see also images Joke Volta and Ian Carson). 3 heavily shaking videos were recorded during this trip. Collecting fresh lava stones was very important for science, a risky task but also well planned.  We have embedded 1 video, the 2 others have to be viewed via the link below. These videos are the same than showed in the Avcan facebook site.  The Videos are courtesy Jesus Perez Quintero and Avcan

Update 27/11 – 19:56 – Ian Carson reports

I cannot commend enough the personnel of IGN who have been very informative and so helpful and wanting to impart knowledge and information. If this had been in the UK, we wouldn’t have got near to  the scientists or the stones. More pictures of Ian have been added to todays Picasa image report

Update 27/11 – 17:56 – Images made by Joke Volta 
Joke Volta was many hours in La Restinga today. She enjoyed being there and looking at the action. She paid a lot of attention at the Salvamar, the ship of the coast guard who went to the Jacuzzi to pick up the lava stones and pieces. Click on this image to see more pictures of what she has seen today.

Update 27/11 – 16:20 – Ian Carson reports from La Restinga 
– Scientists back confirmed been into Jacuzzi but lots of gas, sulfur and chlorine.
– Vent confirmed at 1.8 km from coast.
– Length of ship,’ Salvamar Adhara’ for comparison purposes is 21 meters.

– Steaming stones area bigger + brown stain.
– Rocks are hot when arriving at the surface, they have to use gloves to handle

Update 27/11 – 15:46 
We have to thank the Cabildo of El Hierro, Telefonica, The Presidencia of the Canary Islands, Ian Carson, Hans-Werner, Birgit, Jean-Patrick and ourselves for this great series of images from today’s activity (.. and the day is not over yet)


Click on the images to watch the Picasa group of photos we have uploaded today November 27 2011

Data Update 27/11 – 14:24 

– Joke just wrote us to make publicity for the Sunday El Hierro Volcano show !
– A pity for the backlight in all the webcams at the moment. The eruption is still taking place.
– 12 earthquakes since midnight
– Irregular but strong harmonic tremor on the IGN graph.
– while looking at the eruption webcam, ejected material can be spotted at regular times

Update 27/11 – 13:44 
Ian just had a talk with a geologist. He confirmed that the present erupted material (as can be seen also on the picture below) is pure lava. The Restingolita stones were mixed seabed stones with new lava.
What people are seeing today is “the next step” in the eruption process. Almost over said scientists a couple of days ago, never been that active since the beginning.

Update 27/11 – 13:44 
Below a really huge lava piece which was picked up this morning by the Coast Guard boat. The boat takes a big risk is getting so near to the eruption area. If ejected and still hot, the boat can be heavily damaged by this kind of magma.


Lava bombs picked up by the coast guard out of the El Hierro Las Calmas sea on November 27 – image courtesy Spanish Authorities


Update 27/11 – 11:49 
We have recorded the strongest part of today’s activity and time lapsed more than 1 hour recording into 8 minutes. Enjoy the activity of the El Hierro undersea volcano. The ship (after a few minutes) is a small coast guard ship taking pictures from the Restingolitas. We hope, together with you, that these pictures will arrive in the open internet later today.

YouTube Direkt

Data Update 27/11 – 10:52 
– 10 earthquakes since midnight UTC
– strongest earthquake being a M 2.3
– the remaining earthquakes having a magnitude 1.3 and 1.5
– a VERY IMPORTANT new fact we have seen tonight is a shallow earthquake at a depth of ONLY 1.9 km (providing the data is correct). If new earthquakes would occur at this depth, an eruption event in the El Golfo bay cannot be excluded.
– Harmonic tremor is medium to strong at some times. The graph below gives an overview of harmonic tremor from 8 AM to 10 AM UTC or local Canary island time.


Harmic tremor on November 27 from 08:00 until 10:00 – image courtesy IGN


Update 27/11 – 09:14 
The activity at the eruption area gets even stronger than before. The webcam operator just zoomed out a little to have a wider scoop. expects more action today. A stronger Jacuzzi and from time to time a swelling geyser type action.


Sunday morning action in the Las Calmas sea


Update 27/11 – 08:50 
The coast guard boat on the image will have the best pictures. What he does is however very risky as nobody can predict the start of a subaerial phase of the eruption.


Coast guard ship on the eruption site – screenshot courtesy Birgit Hartinger


Data Update 27/11 – 08:09 
– the action which started yesterday by floating smoking stones is continuing this morning,  hot pyroclastic material is floating to the surface. Just behind a weak Jacuzzi is formed. All this can be seen on the Telefonica eruption webcam.

for more information, updates, and missing videos. go to:

Why Did I Come In Here?

Forget Why You Walked in a Room? Doorways to Blame, Study Finds

By Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer
21 November 2011 3:43 PM ET


Credit: Dreamstime


“So … what am I doing here, anyway?”

Even the most nimble-minded among us have pondered that question after walking into a room with some purpose in mind — to get something, perhaps? — only to blank on what that purpose was. Now a new study suggests that it’s the very act of walking through a doorway that causes these strange memory lapses.

“Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” said lead researcher Gabriel Radvansky, a psychologist at the University of Notre Dame. “Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.”

In our minds, like in the movies, threshold-crossing signals the end of a scene.

As detailed in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, the explanation follows from a series of experiments that probed the relationship between memory and various types of home wandering. First, Radvansky assigned a group of study participants the task of selecting an object from one table and exchanging it for an object at a different table in another room. He then had a second group perform the same task between tables that were an equal distance apart, but in the same room.

The difference in the two groups’ performances was “big enough to drive a truck through,” Radvansky told Life’s Little Mysteries. Despite the simplicity of their task, “people were two to three times as likely to forget what they were supposed to do after walking through a doorway.” This suggested that doorways acted as mental blocks, impeding our ability to retrieve memories formed elsewhere.

The finding held true when the participants navigated both real-world and virtual settings.

But was it actually threshold-crossing that caused their memory lapses, or was it simply being in a different environment than the one in which they learned their task? To find out, Radvansky had the volunteers perform another object-exchanging task, but this time, the task required them to pass through several doorways leading back to the room in which they started. As it turned out, their memories failed them in this scenario just as they did in the other threshold-crossing scenarios. “When they went through multiple doorways, the error rate increased,” he said. This suggests that the act of passing through doorways, rather than the fact of being in a different environment, kills memory, he said.

So why does this happen? “When we are moving through the world, it is very continuous and dynamic and to deal with it more effectively, we parse things up,” Radvansky said. Neuroscientists have begun imaging the brains of people crossing event boundaries and, from these studies, are just beginning to piece together how the brain performs this function. “There are a lot of [brain] areas that light up at different kinds of event boundaries.”

Mental event boundaries are useful because they help us organize our thoughts and memories. But when we’re trying to remember that thing we were intending to do… or get… or maybe find… they can be annoying.

“I think architects are interested in this research because they want to design spaces that are more effective,” Radvansky said. “For example, they might need to consider where you need doorways and where you don’t.”


Energy Healing and Science

Scientific Support for Energy Medicine

Healing_Touchbiglarge.jpgThe following is excerpted from Healing Touch: Essential Energy Medicine for Yourself and Othersavailable from Sounds True.


“Happiness is what we feel when our biochemicals of emotion, the neuropeptides and their receptors, are open and flowing freely. . . . It is a scientific fact that we can feel what others feel.The oneness of all life is based on this simple reality. Our molecules of emotion are all vibrating together.” –research biologist Candace Pert, author of the bestselling bookMolecules of Emotion.


Because we human beings are so interrelated from an energetic perspec­tive, there is a refreshing optimism in energy-medicine approaches and in the practice of Healing Touch. In essence, the presence of a focused, intentional practitioner facilitates healing and movement toward well-being for someone who is in distress. The work offers a beacon of hope in relieving physical and/or emotional pain. It serves as a fine complement to conventional medical interventions and is an essential component for preventive and integrative healing practices.

Current science does not yet fully understand all the dynamics involved in achieving the effects noted in energy medicine, but relief from human suffering abounds in the clinical reports of HT practitioners. Even though the exact mechanisms are not yet fully known, use of this well-recognized practice is sought out and welcomed.

Take, for example, people who are very anxious about diagnostic tests or specific medical procedures. It’s common knowledge that anxiety and worry by themselves can increase pain symptoms and block the flow of biochemicals essential for a procedure to be effective. Psychological concerns and expec­tations, either positive or negative, decidedly help to shape outcomes. The presence of a caring HT practitioner can help promote much-needed relaxation as patients think of new ways to anticipate a procedure and focus on positive outcomes.

In this chapter, we’ll consider the growing scientific evidence for seeing the human body as a series of vibrating electromagnetic fields that can be positively influenced without the invasion of foreign substances such as chemicals or drugs. We begin with the realities of current medical practices that point to the vibrational nature of the body for diagnosis and treatment. We’ll continue with a brief discussion of modern physics with its views toward unlimited, open-ended possibilities as opposed to ideas of direct cause and effect. Emerging concepts in neurosciences such as neuroplasticity will be explored with an eye to the vast capabilities of the human mind to influence health and wholeness. And, perhaps most exciting of all, we’ll look at the new biology that demonstrates the direct effect of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors on cellular messaging and expression of genetic material.

Scientists describe their understanding of the world through theoretical models. The concept of human energies as a vibratory matrix of nonmaterial structures, such as those described in the previous chapter, gives a useful starting place. These vibratory structures seem to interact with identified physical structures such as cells, fluids, and organs to facilitate the flow of information throughout the body. We might think of this informational system as a flowing river that can be impeded where there are blocks to its flow pathways. Such impeded areas can cause disturbance, congestion, and subsequent illness in our bodies. The concept of energy-flow patterns is thus a useful model for understanding human illness and how we might alleviate further suffering. For example, determining how energy flows in a given part of the body is already a part of conventional medical diagnostics. As we shall learn, medicine is becom­ing more and more energetic in practice, even though the mechanisms for its effects are not yet fully explainable. Other more effective models, theories, and inferences will undoubtedly emerge as science evolves.


Vibrational Medicine

Practitoners of Western medicine are becoming more interested in understanding how energy moves in the body as medical science considers the electrical and magnetic qualities of the human organism. For diagnosis, a variety of non­invasive scanners can now give feedback about molecular exchanges within soft tissue. Sophisticated scans such as CT (computerized tomography), PET (positron emission tomography), and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), show areas of constriction or obstruction that interfere with healthy flow patterns within cells and organ tissue.

The EKG (electrocardiogram) and the EEG (electroencephalogram) measure the electrical outputs of the heart and brain and then compare those outputs to normal electrical outputs in healthy persons. Newer tools, such as the EMC (electromagnetic cardiogram) and EMEG (electromagnetic encephalogram), additionally measure the magnetic outputs of heart and brain, which give even more accurate details of deviations from normal function in these vital organs. Technology using SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) allows scientists to measure the human biofield and evaluate relative bodily strengths.

Medical treatments are also becoming less invasive as comprehension of the electromagnetic nature of the body increases. Orthopedic surgeon Robert O. Becker began to explore the electrical circuitry of the human body to treat complex bone fractures that did not heal with known methods in the late 1960s. He identified numerous direct currents of electricity that flowed throughout the body and found they reversed their flow pattern or direction at the site of an injury. When this “current of injury” was supported with a small amount of electrical stimulation, bone healing occurred.

Over the next several decades, Dr. Becker mapped out the energetic grids of the body and surmised that the energy system paralleled the nervous system in providing the communication of information to all parts of the organism.  Unlike the nervous system, however, this system is nonmaterial and electro­magnetic in nature. Thus, humans and higher life forms have dual information systems: 1) the nervous system with its many physical components such as nerve cells, dendrites, axons, and the spinal cord, and 2) the subtle energies that are electromagnetic in form, which I like to call the human vibrational matrix. These dual systems seem to augment each other to ensure optimal functioning. If a part of the body is diseased or surgically removed, other cells learn to take over missing functions as much as possible through our energetic information networks.

Almost every day, new concepts for stimulating electromagnetic areas within the body are being developed to treat illness. Current energy-related treatments include high-frequency sound waves to break up kidney stones, electricity to relieve pain and shrink tumors, focused radiation to pinpoint and destroy specific cancers, electromagnetic fields to accelerate bone healing, laser surgeries to minimize tissue damage, and magnetic fields to alleviate inflammation associated with arthritis. Further explorations in modern medicine continue to study the presence of differing electromagnetic frequencies within the body to find new and more effective treatments.

The energy resources of the body can also bring about balance within body and mind to prevent illness or further disability. Working with HT is known to bring about relaxation, relief from anxiety, a sense of well-being, and enhanced wound healing and immune system function. (These effects are confirmed by ongoing and extensive research cited in the next chapter.) Because of these effects, many physicians are now encouraging their patients to explore energy therapies as part of treatment planning.


Quantum Interrelationships

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Pre-Historic Undersea Islands Found

Giant, Dinosaur-Age Islands Found in Deep Sea?

Odd rocks may have been from supercontinent Gondwana, research says.

A sonar image of the underwater land masses.
A sonar image shows the newfound deep-sea plateaus.

Photograph courtesy Joanne Whittaker

Richard A. Lovett

for National Geographic News

Published November 21, 2011

Giant, sunken pieces of an ancient continent from the time of the dinosaurs may have been discovered deep in the Indian Ocean, scientists say.

The two fragments, called microcontinents, are possibly leftovers from whenIndia, Antarctica, and Australia were part of a supercontinent known as Gondwana (see a map of Earth during this time.)

The plateaus, the combined size of West Virginia, have long been known to cartographers as the Batavia Seamount and the Gulden Draak—or Golden Dragon.

But not much else was known about the features, other than their location, about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) west of Perth, Australia (map).

Surprising Deep-Sea Island Discovery

To fill in the gaps, an international team of scientists recently mapped the seabed and dredged samples from as deep as 8,200 feet (2,500 meters).

What the scientists found surprised them. Rather than the normal basalt rock of most seabeds, the scientists pulled up chunks of granite, gneiss, and sandstone—rocks normally found on continents.

Some samples even contained fossils, said team member Joanne Whittaker, a marine geophysicist at the University of Sydney in Australia.

“It’s quite clear that these two plateaus are little fragments of Gondwana left behind as India moved away from Australia,” Whittaker said.

(See “Undersea Mountain Photos: Brittlestar Swarm, More Found.”)

Ancient Continent Pieces Once Rolling Terrain?

Scientists initially thought the plateaus had flat tops, a sign that they’d been above sea level long enough to have been eroded into plains.

But, as mapping continued, it became clear the plateaus’ physical features were rolling, ranging in elevation from as little as 2,600 feet (1,000 meters) to 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) below the surface. That would mean the highest plateau rises up to about 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) above a surrounding abyss.

The fossils found in the fragments were marine bivalves, a type of mollusk—indicating that the life-forms had lived in shallow water, not on land.

The animals were also discovered in the deeper regions of the plateaus, not the highest peaks, which may have once been islands. “It’s difficult to tell,” Whittaker said. “But that’s certainly something we’ll be looking at.”

Whittaker and colleagues will also try to match the rock samples with rocks on a nearby geological feature, the underwater Western Australian margin, which may help “pin exactly where these little pieces [of Gondwana] came from,” she said.

Few details are known about how the breakup of Gondwana formed the Indian Ocean about 130 million years ago, she added. (See a prehistoric time line.)

Gondwana Breakup Still a Mystery

Some of the story of the breakup will never be told, since the Gondwana portion of what is now India later collided with Asia.

“In India, the equivalent rocks are probably now squashed beyond recognition somewhere in the Himalayas,” Whittaker said.

As for whether dinosaurs might have once roamed the two plateaus, that depends on whether the features ever extended above sea level, and if so, when.

“Who knows? Whittaker said. At the moment, “anything’s possible.”