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Earth Happenings Archive
January 1, 1997 to January 31, 19970
January 31, 1997
A new phase of eruption at Kilauea Volcano on the Island of Hawaii (location map) has begun. The volcano "spewed lava 50 feet into the air after three fissures opened up...near Napau Crater, where an ongoing eruption began 14 years ago" (CNN report; see also Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) update). For more information, read HVO's "Kilauea Eruption: 15 Years and Counting", "Volcanoes of the Big Island", and "Lava Flow Hazard Map Revisited".
January 29, 1997
A 6.0 earthquake in Vanuatu (South Pacific)occurred at 23:19 GMT. A magnitude 5.1 quake took place in the island republic on January 25 at 11:04 GMT.
* "A strong [5.2] aftershock from last week's deadly earthquakes shook a remote area in western China." Over 700 aftershocks have occurred since the 2 large quakes on January 21. (Washington Post/AP).
January 25, 1997
Volcano, earthquakes in Indonesia: "After two days of insignificant activity, Mt. Merapi...again began spewing hot clouds early Friday [January 24]" (Comtex/XINHUA). "A series of earthquakes shook Ambon Island [January 25]...The strongest of the quakes Saturday had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3" (AP).
* Heavy rain over northern California caused mudslides and swelled rivers Saturday, raising fears of a new round of flooding after devastating floods earlier this month." (Reuters; also see Nando Times/AP and Washington Post/AP stories).
January 24, 1997
5.7 quake jolts Indonesia (Washington Post/AP). "Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheavals because of its location in the 'Ring of Fire', an area of volcanoes that circle the Pacific Ocean."
January 23, 1997
2 earthquakes in Southern Turkey (3.8 and 5.5 magnitude) injured at least 5 people. At the same time a 5.7 quake occurred near Beirut, Lebanon. (Reuters).
* A 6.4 quake struck Argentina at 02:15 GMT, in the Jujuy Province.
* Rapid dome growth is continuing at Montserrat volcano, after a dome collapse and "impressive" new lava extrusion on 1/20. Further pyroclastic flows are expected. (MVO daily report 1/22, morning report 1/23)
* Heightened seismic activity under Kliuchevskoi Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia over past week (Univ of N Dakota report).
January 21, 1997
12 reported killed by twin earthquakes in China (Nando Times/AP). "Two powerful earthquakes struck China's far western province of Xinjiang on Tuesday, killing at least 12 people...after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit this morning, followed by a 6.3 quake a minute later...At least three aftershocks followed." Other reports: CNN, Washington Post/AP #1. More recent reports are that 20,000 have been left homeless (Wash. Post/AP #2), about 50 killed (Wash. Post/AP #3, Nando Times).
* Elsewhere, Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano continues to be active, sending ash clouds 30,000 feet into the atmosphere (Montserrat Volcano Observatory Morning Report). "The southeastern face of the dome remains unstable, and further collapses and pyroclastic flows are expected."
January 20, 1997
Mudslide in Washington State kills family of 4 (CNN/AP report). "Melting snow from storms late last month and last week's steady rain have saturated area hillsides on the island west of Seattle, the same area of western Washington hit by mudslides in May 1996" (AP).
* Also on the West Coast of the US, an unexpected storm caused the Los Angeles River to rise suddenly, necessitating rescue squads (CNN report).
January 18, 1997
Earthquake off Taiwan coast. Taiwan's sixth quake this year, measuring 5.7, occurred at 17:13 GMT (1/19/97 Washington Post/AP report).
January 17, 1997
Earthquake and volcanic activity in Indonesia: At 11:20 GMT, a magnitude 5.9 quake hit the Flores region. At Mount Merapi volcano in central Java, drifting ash clouds and new lava flows have forced the evacuation of thousands of residents (Nando Times/Agence France-Presse report, JPEG image).
* A 6.1 quake struck the Ryukyu Islands at 15:53 GMT.
* Also, "Montserrat's troublesome Soufriere Hills Volcano spewed clouds of ash over the abandoned capital of Plymouth, and spilled hot rocks into the sea" (Earthweek, 1/17/97).
January 13, 1997
Strong quake in Cyprus shook region. It was felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel (Nando Times report).
January 11, 1997
At 20:28 GMT, a quake measuring 6.8 occurred in Mexico. Centered in Michoacan, the quake was felt strongly in Mexico City (CNN report) and levelled the small town of Arteaga (Nando Times report).
January 9, 1997
A 5.9 quake occurred in Kyrgyzstan at 13:43 GMT.
January 8, 1997
Floods and mudslides in Brazil and the Western US have left thousands homeless (Brazil-MSNBC and Western US-CNN).
* Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat remains active and scientists are still predicting that, "a major collapse of the dome could happen any time during the next few days" (MVO Daily Report).
January 7, 1997
Clean-up efforts are in full swing after a Russian tanker broke apart along the western shore of Japan spilling 5 million gallons of fuel oil (CNN report).
January 5, 1997
Rapid growth of dome in Montserrat volcano continues generating rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows. The alert level remains at code orange (MVO daily reports 1/4/97 and 1/5/97)
Also see the recent Scientific American article on predicting volcanic eruptions: Awaiting The Big Bang?: Scientists grapple with Montserrat's live volcano
January 4, 1997
Flooding and mudslides continue in the Pacific Northwest, prompting the President to declare much of the region a disaster area (CNN 1/3/97 and 1/4/97)
January 2, 1997
Poisonous gas was released from an Indonesian crater in the Dieng Plateau of Central Java. No one has been reported injured. (CNN 1/2/97)
* Floodwaters in the Pacific NW are beginning to recede after over a week of heavy rain and snow (CNN 1/2/97). Abundant mudslides have blocked roads and destroyed homes.


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