Subj: // Goma - grim example of what El Popo can do plus NASA confusion
Date: 1/20/02 5:23:21 AM Pacific Standard Time

January 19, 2002 by MW Mandeville

ITEM(S): Goma - grim example of what El Popo will do plus NASA confusion

(ECB, January 19, 2002)  The extensive sheet lava flows which have sent a half
million people packing in Central Africa is a grim example of the kind of
result which El Popo could easily create. If El Popo pops off along the lines
of the Cosa Nostra Damus prediction, extensive sheet lavas are likely to flow
into some portions of  Mexico City as into Goma.  In the case of Mexico City,
we are talking about a metropolitan region which has something like 20 million
people in it.  Mexican society would be catastrophically impacted under the
burden of dealing with even just the disruption of 10% of the city.

As you should know, the Earth is just now passing through its perihelion with
the Sun (closest orbital approach).  During perihelion, Antarctica is pulled up
the maximum possible amount towards the Sun in a broad zone which ranges from
about Longitude  East 10 degrees to Long. East 190 degrees (actually this is
Long. West 170 degrees, but never mind the logical absurdities of how humans
refer to locations on the planet).  During this period of time, the maximum
tectonic plate stress is felt in, where?  up the great rift valley in East
Africa to the Red Sea, across the Mediterranean and the Aegean through Turkey
and into the Himalayas.  As well, the Fiji- Papua Tectonic Arc should be
feeling its oats. 

In fact, all of this is true.  The majority of the seismic activity of note is
now in these zones and the Goma eruptions show us the great stress of
shape-shifting which is currently active in Africa.  The African continent must
be bending and flexing downward, esp. along the rift zone of the East Central
Valley System to produce the sheet lava flows.  That sheet lava is most likely
not expelled merely by gases from sunken ocean water, as is true in the South
Pacific and the Coastal Volcanoes of the Americas, more probably it is from
hydraulic pressure of the crust against the mantle.

For reasons which I cannot explain, there is currently also a large percentage
of world major quake activity in western South America at the moment.

In any event, extrapolating only from the angle of the Sun against the Earth's
tilt and the frequent patterns of the past, expect to hear some more from
Italy's volcanoes during the next three to four months, and then after that
expect to hear from Carib Plate volcanoes, esp. El Popo, which probably is
still merely in a warm-up phase since it began this modern round of activity in
1996.   A major eruption is still a strong possibility.  We are likely as well
to hear from two or three of the South Pacific volcanoes, and maybe two of
three of Japan's volcs, at any time through to about June.

As the year progresses, the focal point of tectonic stress from the position of
the Sun vis-a-vis the tilt of the Earth should slowly move towards the East and
arrive over North America in about late Spring.  That is the time when we will
hear from North American volcanoes, if we are to hear from them at all this

Pam Wiseman and others sent me copies of info from NASA about a "double-peaked
sunspot max" (see the article below).  They still wont PUBLICLY admit that it
is the planets which are peaking the output of the sunspots.  (But  the space
program used to be guided by contracted (from private sources) forecasts of
solar storms and spots which are based on planetary relationships). Go to

and look at the sunspot chart for the past four months.

On the chart you can see the effect of the Oct 15 Mercury alignment with the
Earth and its involvement with Venus through to the beginning of November
2001.  You can also see for the last week of December the spike caused by the
Jupiter-Earth alignment. and the subsequent fall-off.  There are two other
spikes in there which I have not identified because I have not bothered to
look.  The spots should increase again shortly in correspondence with the
weather forecast for the year which I made at the beginning of this January.
There are three other periods during the year when Sunspots should temporarily
increase in numbers.

Recent news on the sun cycles and how different they are-go to link to see the
photos and graphs. > > >


The Resurgent Sun

Evidence is mounting that some solar cycles are doubled-peaked. The ongoing
solar maximum may itself be a double -- and the second peak has arrived.

Listen to this story via
treaming audio, a
ownloadable file, or <>get help.

January 18, 2002: Every 11 years solar activity reaches a fever pitch: Solar
flares erupt near sunspots on a daily basis. Coronal mass ejections,
billion-ton clouds of magnetized gas, fly away from the Sun and buffet the
planets. Even the Sun's awesome magnetic field -- as large as the solar system
itself -- grows unstable and flips.

It's a turbulent time called Solar Max.

Right: Sunspot counts for the current solar cycle peaked in mid-2000 and again
in late 2001. Image courtesy David Hathaway, NASA/MSFC.

The most recent (and ongoing) Solar Max crested in mid-2000. Sunspot counts
were higher than they had been in 10 years, and solar activity was intense. One
remarkable eruption on July 14, 2000 -- the so-called "Bastille Day Event" --
sparked brilliant auroras as far south as Texas, caused electrical brown-outs,
and temporarily disabled some satellites.

<../../news/subscribe.htm>Sign up for EXPRESS SCIENCE NEWS delivery
After that, sunspot counts slowly declined and the Sun was relatively quiet for
month-long stretches. Solar Max was subsiding.

But now, as 2002 unfolds, it's back. The Sun is again peppered with spots, and
eruptions are frequent. Says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the NASA
Marshall Space Flight Center: "The current solar cycle appears to be
double-peaked," and the second peak has arrived.

Scientists track solar cycles by counting sunspots -- cool planet-sized areas
on the Sun where intense magnetic loops poke through the star's visible
surface. Hathaway is an expert forecaster of sunspot numbers. "Sunspot counts
peaked in 2000 some months earlier than we expected," he recalls. The
subsequent dip toward solar minimum seemed premature to Hathaway, and indeed it
was. Before long, sunspot counts reversed course and began to climb toward a
second maximum that now appears to be only a few percent smaller than the
Solar Max eleven years ago was much the same. A first peak arrived in mid-1989
followed by a smaller maximum in early 1991. In fact, if the ongoing cycle
proves to be a double, it will be the third such double-peaked cycle in a row.

Left: International
<>sunspot counts between
1975 and 1995 show that the last two
<>sunspot cycles also had
double-featured maxima.

During solar maximum, magnetic fields above the Sun's surface become
impressively tangled, particularly near sunspots. Twisted magnetic fields --
stretched like taut rubber bands -- can snap back and explode, powering solar
flares and coronal mass ejections.

Sunspots are the most visible sign of those complex magnetic fields -- but not
the only one. Another sign is solar radio emissions, which come from hot gas
trapped in magnetic loops. "The radio Sun is
<images/solarback/noaa_radio_flux_med.htm>even brighter now than it was in
2000," says Hathaway. By the radio standard, this second peak is larger than
the first.

Hathaway notes a widespread misconception that solar activity varies every 11
years "like a pure sinusoid." In fact, he says, solar activity is chaotic;
there is more than one period.

Earth-directed solar explosions, for instance, tend to happen every 27 days --
the time it takes for sunspots to rotate once around the Sun. There is also an
occasional 155-day cycle of solar flares. No one knows what causes it. And the
double peaks of recent solar maxima are separated by approximately 18 months.
The source of all this variability is the turbulent Sun itself. The outermost
third of our star -- the "convective zone" -- is boiling like hot water on a
stove. California-sized bubbles rise 200,000 km from the base of the zone to
the Sun's surface where they turn over and "pop," releasing heat (generated by
nuclear reactions in the core) to space. Below the convective zone lies the
"radiative zone" -- a calmer region where photons, not mass motions, transport
the Sun's energy outward. Says Hathaway: "The Sun's magnetic field is generated
at the boundary between these two layers where strong electric currents flow."

Right: This artist's concept of the solar interior reveals the boiling
convective zone, the interface layer (where the Sun's magnetic field is
generated), and the relatively calm radiative zone.

Magnetic fields are produced by electric currents -- that is, charges in
motion. The Sun itself is a conducting fluid. Our star is so hot that the atoms
within it are mostly ionized; their nuclei are separated from their electrons.
As a result, relative motions between neighboring layers of ionized gas carry
currents and spawn magnetic fields. "The rotational velocity of the Sun changes
suddenly near the convective-radiative boundary," says Hathaway. "The velocity
shear is what drives the so-called solar magnetic dynamo."

Below: The false colors in this cutaway diagram of the Sun represent different
gas velocities inside our star. Click on the image to view
<>a 3MB movie of
the 16-month
"<>pulse" at the
base of the convection zone.

Last year, scientists using a technique called helioseismology, which can probe
conditions within the Sun much like seismic waves reveal the interior structure
of our planet, announced that currents of gas at the base of the convective
zone speed and slacken every 16 months.

"That's about the same as the time between the double peaks of recent solar
maxima," notes Hathaway. Perhaps the two are connected. "It's hard to be sure,"
he cautions, because the detailed inner workings of stellar magnetic dynamos
remain a mystery. "Helioseismology of the Sun, which can probe beneath its
visible surface, is still a young field. We need more time to understand
completely how the internal rhythms of our star affect the solar cycle."

Whatever the cause, a resurgent Sun is welcome news for many sky watchers.
Solar eruptions can trigger one of the most beautiful spectacles on our planet:
Northern Lights. If the Sun continues to storm, the skies could be alight, off
and on, for many months to come.


Credits & Contacts
Author: <>Dr. Tony Phillips
Responsible NASA official: <>Ron Koczor
Production Editor: <>Dr. Tony Phillips
Curator: <>Bryan Walls
Media Relations: <>Steve Roy
The Science Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center sponsors the
Science@NASA web sites. The mission of Science@NASA is to help the public
understand how exciting NASA research is and to help NASA scientists fulfill
their outreach responsibilities.

Web Links

<>The Sunspot Cycle --
predictions, history, and in-depth information from David Hathaway and the
NASA/MSFC solar physics group. See also,
<>What is
the Solar Cycle? from NASA/Goddard's "StarChild" and
<>Sunspot Numbers from

Up & Downs: Solar maxima come every 11 years, but the ferocity of solar activity
isn't the same each time. The 11-year peaks seem to be modulated by an even
longer cycle, perhaps 100 years or more in length. During one notable trough
called the "Maunder Minimum" very few sunspots were seen for 6 consecutive
solar cycles between 1645 and 1715 -- and Europe was plunged into the "Little
Ice Age." Click to view
<>sunspot counts
recorded during the past 400 years.

<>NOAA sunspot numbers and 10.7 cm radio
fluxes -- see for yourself the double-peaked character of the current solar

<>The Most Powerful Solar
Flares ever Recorded -- ( For reasons scientists don't
understand, the most powerful solar flares erupt most often during the waning
phases of sunspot cycles. Two of the strongest flares on record happened in
early-2001 when the sunspot number was temporarily declining.

<>Sun's got the Beat
-- (Science@NASA) Helioseismologists discover a curious 16 month rhythm at the
base of the Sun's convection zone.

More helioseismology links:
<>Surface Waves and
Helioseismology, from Science@NASA;
<>Helioseismic Holography, from,

<>Watching the Angry
Sun -- (Science@NASA) Solar physicists are enjoying their best-ever look at a
solar maximum thanks to NOAA and NASA satellites.

<>Origin of Earth's Magnetism --
like the Sun, our planet has a magnetic dynamo.

<>The Dynamo Process -- the basics

<>Planetary Dynamo on a
Desk -- ( magnetic dynamos are hard to study because they are
hidden deep inside stars and planets. An innovative device allows one
scientists to study a dynamo on his desktop.

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