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March 17th 2015: More fireworks over North Europe (Aurora Borealis)

Just a few days before the upcoming solar eclipse on Friday morning, March 20th, Mother Nature had yet another nice surprise for us at hand.

Due to a massive CME (a Coronal Mass Ejection, where the sun spits out a lot of particles) directed towards the earth, many places in Northern Europe were hit by this stream of particles.

However, as we’re shielded by the magnetic field within and around the earth, the particles were bounced off in various directions. This bouncing of charged particles caused a beautiful colourful spectacle called Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights.

From spaceweather an actual view could be found where to expect these beautiful colourful flames; around it’s peak it looked like this:
Aurora Forecast Northern Hemisphere

Also via aurora-service.eu the forecast was predicting an intense hammering of our planet by solar particles.

Down south, here near Darmstadt, the sky was too bright to be able to see much, and we were also too much down south. However, beautiful images were being captured (also from the USA).


Via Mikael Sjösten


Via Oliver Wright

And some more local images:


From Zwolle, The Netherlands, by Hans van Eijsden


From Friesland, The Netherlands, by Jeroen Horlings


From Terschelling, The Netherlands, by Albert Wester

It has been about 13,5 years ago I’ve seen polar lights glowing orange/greenish; I hope to be able to catch a bit more of it soon.

And the Darmstädter Erdbeben / earthquake swarm continues ..

Yesterday night, 15/03/2015 at around 04:08 we got struck by a M2.7 earthquake in Darmstadt, which I kindly enough received next morning via twitter as a reminder:


With the initial numbers, it looked like the epicenter was only 4km away:

However, after correction the epicenter returned to where we could expect this to happen: Mühltal again, a part of Nieder-Beerbach, just over the first ridge pushed up by the Rheingraben, on the edge of the yellow, pink and green areas:

No, I didn’t feel anything as I was vast asleep. Many people did feel it though, even woke up, and logged their responses via @JuskisErdbeben.

image via juskis-erdbebennews.de


based upon the ‘eye’witness reports, collected by Jens Skapski & Lukas Rentz for juskis-erdbebennews.de, the area where the quake was felt could be narrowed down pretty precise. My colleague who lives exactly at the epicenter did wake up and was not very pleased though with yet another earthquake.

On the WBB-Seismometer from the HED (Hessischen Erdbebendienstes), located in Darmstadt for the HLUG (Hessischen Landesamt für Umwelt und Geologie), it did look quite impressive:

And even here the little aftershock is visible well, about 15 minutes later.

As I already predicted a friend last week: It has been too quiet since November. I saw little peaks in the seismograph already last week, which could lead up to something bigger again. And thus it did. Probably it decided it wasn’t finished yet, as on the 16th in the morning another quake was registered:


This one I did feel but I didn’t realize it was another earthquake, I thought it was just someone slamming the door.

What surprised me once again is that one can hear an earthquake. Not the sound of the building and furniture that moves, but the actual quake itself sounds over here frequently like a bang, sometimes starting with a loud roar (this can be heard in this video:

Earthquake (Erdbeben): Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany – 17.05.2014 from Mark Paul Abare, Jr. on Vimeo.

I read from some sources that gas was being released just before, during and after the earthquake, which makes sense. All we would need is just a few more places where this can be measured.

Here are the current recent earthquakes near Darmstadt until now:

* Earthquake near Darmstadt, March 30th (M3.2),
* Earthquake near Darmstadt, May 17th (M4.1)
* Earthquake near Darmstadt, June 8th 2014 (M3.3)
* Earthquake near Darmstadt, September 19th 2014 (M2.6)
* Earthquake near Darmstadt, October 29th 2014 (M3.6)

Which all adds up to the list of earthquakes here. It is still not getting less intense, less frequent:


Maps from top to bottom showing the amount and magnitude of earthquakes near Mühltal / Darmstadt since
- 2002 – 2015 (now)
- 2012 – 2015 (now)
- 2014 – 2015 (now)
source: www.lgb-rlp.de

And, in case you’re interested what happens right now: Live seismograph from WBB – Hessische Earthquake Service in Darmstadt:

Meteorite hits (or burns out) over southern Europe on March 15th

Just in between the earthquakes here; we also had a meteorite plunging towards earth. Unfortunately I didn’t see it, but my colleague did while he was fiddling with his bike outside. He mentioned he was stunned by the green light, the flashing, thought it was fireworks, then realized it was going way to slow.
Here are some recordings from dashcams which he recognized immediately; the colour and the flickering. Reports also say there was a bang, which could indicate the meteorite hit earth (but I presume the bang was because it fragmented above, visible in some of the videos).


From Tirol, Austria


From Mannheim, Germany


The New Millenium Observatory cam near Ulm, Germany

And via Spaceweather some beautiful images from the leftovers; including a curly tail:


Courtesy: Taken by Hans Hopf on March 15, 2015 near Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

If you have seen this meteorite, please bring it back to it’s rightful owner. Or, maybe better; report it here: http://fireballs.imo.net/members/imo/report_intro

And if you do not know the difference between a asteroid, comet, meteoroid, meteor or meteorite, check this blogpost

Another strong earthquake: We’re on the move?

Well, something had a good wobble about 2 hours ago.
I first noticed it via the Darmstädter Seismograph image in my blogpost which showed the same around Wiesbaden.

Then I checked the charts on the Icelandic Meteorological Office​ and they were showing the same bump.

Finally figured out via USGS that it was an earthquake with M7.1 around the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge; at 52.669°N 31.924°W with a depth of 13.8 km

From the USGS Website:
Tectonic Summary
The February 13, 2015 M 7.1 Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge earthquake occurred as the result of right-lateral strike-slip faulting on or near a transform fault forming part of the North America:Eurasia plate boundary. At the latitude of this earthquake, the North America plate moves approximately westward at a rate of 21 mm/yr with respect to Eurasia. The preliminary location and mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with its occurrence on the Charlie-Gibbs Transform (the seismically active section of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone), though more detailed analyses of the event will be required to definitively determine the causative structure.

Not bad that that one is caught by the local seismographs here.
But then, “we” are on the move; with rare earthquakes in England recently, I wonder where we’re going to.

Or is it what I heard recently: “Due to human intervention, the earth is lacking oil in it’s top layers, causing higher friction, less oiled movements of the plates and thus stronger earthquakes” ?