Wednesday, January 31, 2018

History Says Expect The Sixth Seal In New York (Revelation 6:12)

According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.
A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.
Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.
There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan’s 125th St. – which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.
“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” explained Skyes after the study was published.
He adds: “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”
Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
“I would expect some people to be killed,” he notes.
The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale. (ANI)

Crisis Leads To The First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Crises between India and Pakistan: The Basics
Michael Krepon. January 30, 2018
Quote of the week:
“Clearly, five major crises within a twenty-year period indicate a fundamental structural problem… This region has not been stable and peaceful despite the common cultural and geopolitical heritage of its two dominant states.”
— Stephen P. Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta, Arming without Aiming: India’s Military Modernization, Brookings (2010)
Crises on the subcontinent are man-made and not accidental. The instigators have grievances and want to change the status quo. Crisis-triggering events usually do not come as a bolt out of the blue. Instead they are preceded by a series of events leading up to a big explosion. When a crisis comes as a surprise, someone important has been asleep at the switch.
There are indicators to the run-up of a crisis. Some are now very much evident. Firing along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir is the highest in seven years, according to Indian accounts. Pakistan has accused India of over 1,300 cease-fire violations in 2017. Crossings by militant cadres into Kashmir are up. Public disaffection among Kashmiri Muslims under Indian governance is very high and combustible. Military posts along the LoC are being overrun.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to this pattern of increased violence by publicizing “surgical strikes” in September 2016. These hit-and-run-and return operations can be scaled up if deemed warranted, as can Pakistani responses. Modi’s action shored up domestic support but did nothing to reverse or stem the pattern of violence across the LoC.
Crises reoccur because they don’t resolve any of the underlying problems. Instead, they just aggravate pre-existing conditions. Offsetting nuclear capabilities have not calmed these troubled waters. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because nuclear weapons do not have a calming influence. Instead, they magnify grievances.
The alternative to crises, sub-conventional sparring, and limited warfare between India and Pakistan is intensive and sustained diplomacy to reconcile differences. But this pathway requires a bold leader in India to take the initiative and a bold leader in Pakistan willing to stand up to spoilers. This hasn’t been tried since Partition.
The frequency of crises is hard to predict. Sometimes they follow closely after each other; at other times, there can be a long hiatus between crises. There was a nine-year lull between the 1990 crisis, sparked by a large-scale Pakistani military exercise and inflammable developments fostered by Pakistan’s military and intelligence services in Kashmir and Punjab, and the Kargil war. India and Pakistan have now gone over nine years since the 2008 crisis when cadres of the Lashkar e-Taiba attacked iconic targets in Mumbai.
So far, the high-water mark for crises and risk taking on the subcontinent occurred in the first three years after the 1998 nuclear tests. These years of living dangerously were marked by the 1999 Kargil war followed by the 2001-2 “Twin Peaks” crisis, which was sparked by an attack on the Indian parliament building by militant cadres whose leadership were based in Pakistan.
Every crisis has provided an impetus to Pakistani and Indian nuclear modernization programs, upping the stakes for the next crisis. There is no evidence, however, that an accelerated nuclear competition or the nuclear balance of forces have affected the outcome of any crisis, in part because the contestants remain largely in the dark as to each other’s actual capabilities.
To shore up deterrence, Pakistan threatens to use nuclear weapons first and India threatens to respond with massive retaliation. These threats lack credibility to the listeners, no matter how often they are repeated because they appear too dangerous to initiate. Nuclear detonations by accident or by a breakdown of command and control are more likely than an orders being passed down by from Indian or Pakistani decision makers.
Why have nuclear detonations been absent so far? New Delhi’s leaders place a high priority on economic growth and have viewed uncontrolled escalation as a significant threat to this objective. In addition, there is a paucity of meaningful targets for Indian forces within Azad Jammu and Kashmir, where escalation is mostly likely to be controlled. Targets elsewhere in Pakistan are another matter.
Pakistan’s decision makers are also sensitive to uncontrolled escalation. All of these constraining factors continue to remain in place in the event of another crisis. In addition, Pakistan’s leaders now have concerns about the impact of fighting on crucial Chinese Belt and Road investments. The more both countries need to focus on improving the environment for foreign investment, the more unwelcome another severe crisis would be.
Perhaps this helps explain the absence of big explosions since the 2008 Mumbai attacks. There is also reason to hope that Pakistan’s decision makers have internalized the lessons of prior crises. Dangerous misadventures have not advanced the Kashmir cause. Instead, the Kargil War and big explosions in India with links to Pakistani have reaffirmed the status quo in Kashmir, badly damaged Pakistan’s international standing, and have diminished its economic prospects, aside from China.
It is possible that the worst nuclear-tinged crises on the subcontinent are a reflection of a more troubled past. But there is no room for complacency. Some of the indicators of another major crisis are growing. Violence along the Kashmir divide and unrest within the Kashmir Valley are high. Spoilers haven’t changed their agendas. India and Pakistan have track records of miscalculation about acceptable tolerance levels, and sustained diplomacy to improve ties has insufficient backing. There’s also a Catch 22 about activating diplomacy, as this might activate spoilers, as well. Even so, without sustained diplomacy to make progress on long-standing disputes, the risk of nuclear crises will remain ever prevalent in the Subcontinent.
Note to readers: Stimson has published an outstanding new collection of essays on crises between India and Pakistan, Investigating Crises: South Asia’s Lessons, Evolving Dynamics and Trajectories,edited by Sameer Lalwani and Hannah Haegeland. It can be read at

China Wants To Expand Her Nuclear Horn

China Wants New Nuclear Weapons to Keep Up With U.S. and Russia Military Power
By Tom O'Connor On 1/30/18 at 4:19 PM
The Chinese military has expressed its desire to enhance its nuclear weapons to keep up with the U.S. and Russia, two leading powers that have increasingly committed to modernizing their own arsenals.
In a commentary featured Tuesday in the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army, military experts Li Xianrong and Yang Min detailed the nuclear strategies of the U.S. and Russia, China's primary global defense competitors. While the outlet compared nuclear weapons to a "sword of Damocles" hanging over the head of mankind and called for them to be completely eradicated in a concluding note, the editor ultimately said they were a necessary tool to secure China and forward its interests as a major international player.
"In the roiling unpredictability of today’s world, to upgrade the capability of our country’s deterrence strategy, to support our great power position... we must strengthen the reliability and trustworthiness of our nuclear deterrence and nuclear counterstrike capabilities," the editor wrote, as translated by Reuters.
The article mostly centered on the evolution of the U.S. and Russia's nuclear strategies since the Cold War and came in response to President Donald Trump's upcoming Nuclear Posture Review expected to be released by the Pentagon sometime next month. A draft version of the document was leaked by The Huffington Post earlier this month and its contents revealed controversial plans to loosen restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons and install low-yield, tactical nuclear devices on submarine-launched Trident II D5 ballistic missiles.
Li and Yang, both researchers at the ruling Chinese Communist Party-controlled PLA Academy of Military Science, claimed that the Trump administration's plan, if realized, would make the U.S. a more powerful nuclear power than ever before. They noted that the U.S. draft suggested committing up to $1.2 trillion for three decades of upgrades to the Pentagon's nuclear triad, including B-21 Raider strategic bombers in the air, Columbia-class nuclear submarines at sea and various nuclear missiles and bombs deployed at air, land and sea.
The Chinese researchers wrote that Russia too was revolutionizing its nuclear force. They referenced Russian President Vladimir Putin's ongoing push to modernize 90 percent of his country's nuclear force, the largest in the world, by 2021. Tuesday's analysis mentioned critical improvements to Russia's Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and the highly-anticipated R2-28 Sarmat, or "Satan 2," ICBM among other developments.
The U.S. and Russia's latest nuclear initiatives, coupled with heightened tensions between the longtime foes, have raised concerns about their ability to maintain peace, especially as they fall on opposite ends of conflicts in Europe and the Middle East. In this strategic standoff, China has largely sided with Russia in a joint effort to counter what the two powers see as a hegemonic U.S. presence around the world and especially in the Asia-Pacific, where the U.S. has challenged China's sprawling territorial claims and threatened to attack neighboring nuclear-armed North Korea.
China joined the nuclear race comparatively late to the post-World War II superpowers, but did so at the height of the Cold War, which grew increasingly complex as the world's largest communist powers, China and the Soviet Union, fell out with one another. China departed from Moscow's massive nuclear umbrella and began its own nuclear program, testing its first weapon in 1964. China joined nuclear powers France, the Soviet Union, the U.K. and the U.S. in signing the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
China was believed to possess around 270 nuclear warheads, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, placing it behind Russia, the U.S., France and the U.K. in terms of stockpile size. China has a powerful arsenal of tactical, cruise, medium-range, long-range and ICBMs launched by air, land and sea, including the mobile-launched Dongfeng ("East Wind") or DF-41, believed to be the world's longest ranged missile at a projected 7,500 miles.

Getting Ready For The Unthinkable (Revelation 15)

With nuclear weapons, we’re getting too comfortable thinking the unthinkable
Richard A. Clarke, chairman of Good Harbor Security Risk Management, was special adviser to the president for cybersecurity in the George W. Bush administration. Steve Andreasen was the National Security Council’s staff director for defense policy and arms control from 1993 to 2001 and teaches at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
A dangerous disconnect is emerging between the horrific impacts of even the limited use of nuclear weapons, and leaders and policymakers who seem intent on threatening nuclear use in an ever-expanding range of scenarios. If this continues, the risk that a nuclear weapon will be used for the first time in more than 70 years — deliberately or otherwise — will grow. We must return to a more sober dialogue and approach to policy.
The Trump administration appears poised to expand the circumstances under which the United States might use nuclear weapons, including in response to a cyberattack. The time when leaders and policymakers in the United States, Russia and other countries had anything close to a personal connection with the effects of even a single nuclear weapon is becoming more distant. Memories of a smoldering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the stark fear generated by the Cuban missile crisis or the massive protests sparked in the early 1980s by the deployment of U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe no longer drive or even inform policy. As former secretary of state George P. Shultz told Congress last week, “I fear people have lost that sense of dread.”
When nuclear theory or war-gaming moved from the Pentagon to the White House during the Cold War, it was more often than not met by a skeptical president and civilian leadership, who rightly recoiled from risking nuclear catastrophe. That is not the case now.
Five years ago, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board published a report equating the impact of Chinese and Russian capabilities to launch an “existential cyber attack” against the United States with the impact of a nuclear attack — and recommended that the United States be prepared to threaten the use of nuclear weapons to deter cyberattacks. When the board’s recommendation was exposed to the light of day by the two of us and others in 2013, it was publicly rebuked and, as a matter of policy, quietly discarded.
But just last month, the board’s proposal became U.S. policy. In December, the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy quietly expanded the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense plans, stating they are “essential” to prevent “non-nuclear strategic attacks” — i.e., cyberattacks.
This week, the Trump administration is expected to release its “Nuclear Posture Review.” A leaked pre-decisional draft reaffirms the policy of threatening nuclear use to prevent cyberattacks, but goes even further — expanding the role of U.S. forward-deployed nuclear weapons in NATO’s European defenses.
For decades, the United States has been moving to reduce the relevance of forward-deployed nuclear weapons in Europe, and for good reason: U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe have virtually no military utility, and their storage at bases in multiple countries presents a serious security risk. Removing them would reduce the risk of terrorism and instability, and would free up resources across NATO for other urgent defense tasks.
Moreover, as NATO has repeatedly stated, “The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic forces of the Alliance.” With three nuclearized member states — the United States, Britain and France — NATO has a robust nuclear deterrent capable of being employed anywhere in defense of NATO interests.
The Trump Nuclear Posture Review not only rejects this logic, it ties our forward-deployed forces to NATO’s strategic forces as part of the bloc’s “supreme guarantee.” So rather than move in the direction of reducing nuclear risks by removing nuclear weapons from vulnerable sites, we will instead further cement them in place — when there is ample evidence of terrorist interest in nuclear facilities and, as is presently true in Turkey, evidence that the security of U.S. nuclear weapons reportedly stored there can change literally overnight.
Raising the profile of nuclear weapons in our defense plans comes at a time when the disastrous consequences of even limited nuclear use is becoming even more apparent. Alan Robock and his colleagues at Rutgers University — using newly updated climate models and the much greater computing power now available — have concluded that even a limited nuclear exchange (50 to 100 weapons) could create a “mini-nuclear winter” whose effects could last two to three years and create tens of millions of deaths from starvation because of the collapse of grain crops brought on by climate change.
Nuclear weapons present a unique threat of national devastation and global extinction. They are good for only one purpose: deterring nuclear attacks. Policies equating cyberthreats to nuclear threats, or raising the profile of nuclear weapons in our conventional defenses, undermine the credibility of nuclear deterrence by threatening use for lesser contingencies and makes nuclear use more likely.

Russia Increases Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

US Report Confirms Russia Is Developing the World’s Most Powerful Nuclear Weapon
A Military Fact
On January 11, The Huffington Post leaked a copy of the Trump administration’s first nuclear posture review. The report assesses the role nuclear weapons will likely play in U.S. security over the next five to ten years, and it confirms that Russia is developing Kanyon, the world’s most powerful nuclear weapon.
Rumors of Kanyon (or Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6, as it’s known in Russia) first started swirling in 2015 following a leak on Russian television. Soon after, the nation confirmed the weapon’s existence, while claiming the leak was a mistake.
However, as defense analyst and military historian H. I. Sutton told Futurism, this leak of the latest nuclear posture review is the first official recognition of Kanyon by U.S. officials.
“The unclassified posture review document doesn’t really tell defense analysts anything new, but it does establish Kanyon as a military fact,” said Sutton. “Until now, many observers had regarded the system as ‘fake news.’ I think that this was partly because the stated specifications are so incredible and partly because it is hard to understand how it will be used.”
Incredible Devastation
“Incredible” is perhaps putting it mildly.
Based on leaked Russian documents, Kanyon is a nuclear-armed autonomous torpedo capable of traveling 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) with a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon as its payload. That’s at least twice as powerful as any nuclear weapon ever tested. According to nuclear bomb simulator Nukemap, it would instantly kill 8 million people and injure an additional 6.6 million if dropped on New York City.
Kanyon’s weapon wouldn’t be dropped, though. It would arrive via the ocean and bring with it a massive artificial tsunami that would blanket the coastal area in radioactive water. If the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60, as some have reported, a detonation could render contaminated areas uninhabitable by humans for an entire century.
“Kanyon is unique in every respect,” said Sutton. “There really is nothing like it in any navy’s inventory.”
Though both massive and powerful, Kanyon isn’t particularly fast. The autonomous torpedo’s reported top speed is 100 knots (115 miles per hour), so it would need almost 36 hours to travel from Kronstadt, the westernmost point in Russia, to New York City, the most populated city in the U.S.
Of course, it could be launched from somewhere closer, but according to Sutton, Americans probably don’t need to worry about a surprise Kanyon attack. However, he still believes it’s a “terrifying weapon” and sees its development as a sign that Russia is looking to diversify its nuclear arsenal, likely in an attempt to find ways to get around future missile defenses.
As Sutton told Futurism, nuclear deterrence is a nuanced topic. Ultimately, impenetrable missile defenses could actually decrease safety by undermining mutually assured destruction (MAD), the idea that the mere threat of using a strong nuclear weapon against an enemy could prevent that enemy from using a nuclear weapon of its own.
By that line of thinking, knowing that Russia has a weapon the U.S. couldn’t defend against could prevent the U.S. or other nations from attacking Russia, starting a nuclear war that would leave the entire planet devastated. If those opposed to nuclear weapons are looking for any bright side to the confirmation of Kanyon’s existence, it’s probably that.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New York is the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York, Mar. 18 (ANI): If the past is any indication, New York can be hit by an earthquake, claims John Armbruster, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.
A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.
Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.
There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan's 125th St. - which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.
There's another fault line on Dyckman St. and one in Dobbs Ferry in nearby Westchester County.
"The problem here comes from many subtle faults," explained Skyes after the study was published.
He adds: "We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought."
"Considering population density and the condition of the region's infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact," says the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation on its website.
Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
"I would expect some people to be killed," he notes.
The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale. (ANI)

Iran and Pakistan Unify Horns (Daniel 8:8)

Pakistan, Iran safety lies in unity and solidarity
Zahid Hussain Karani
THE ever growing close relations between India and Israel, are fast turning into a nexus that will have adverse repercussions for the Muslims of Asia particularly Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan as well as Central Asian and Middle East countries. In fact many responsible leaders have not minced words in calling the India, Israel, United States an unholy alliance against Muslim countries and their freedom, with Iran and Pakistan being the prime targets.
The recent trip to India of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is best described as a fascist and war-criminal along with a 130-member delegation is the latest development in the unholy alliance of America, Israel and India.
The Israeli, Indian cooperation is meant to forge a united stand against Iran and Pakistan and disrupt their progress and economic development.
The Israelis signed nine defence cooperation agreements with India. Israel will sell India an anti-aircraft missile system for $2.5billion besides help India to develop a state of the art guided missile system. India and Israel also signed the following agreements during the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit.
An MoU on Cyber Security Cooperation between India and Israel. MoU between India and Israel’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of Energy on Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector. A Protocol between India and Israel on Amendments to the Air Transport Agreement. Agreement on Film-co-production between India and Israel. MoU between the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH and the Centre for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Cooperation in the field of Research in Homeopathic Medicine, An MoU between Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology for cooperation in the field of space. A Memorandum of Intent between Invest India and Invest in Israel. A Letter of Intent between IOCL and Phinergy Ltd. for cooperation in the area of metal-air batteries. A Letter of Intent between IOCL and Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd for cooperation in the area of concentrated solar thermal technologies.
It is no secret that Israel considers Iran it greatest enemy and opponent and has no love lost for Pakistan as well. Iran has fully supported the Palestinian people in their just cause for a homeland. Pakistan too, is fully committed to the Palestinian cause. Israel’s hegemonistic ambitions have also been checked by Iran while Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities are viewed with alarm by Israel.
The reason for the loving relationship between the Zionist power oppressing the innocent Palestinians and fundamentalist Hindu state that has usurped the freedom of the Kashmiri people is America.
The United States has nudged Tel Aviv and New Delhi to come close to each other as Washington is dead opposed to the prosperity and progress of the Muslim countries of South, West and Central Asia. In this respect, America has incorporated Indian and Israeli services to stop the China Pakistan Economic Project which also enjoys the blessings of Russia which stands to benefit from this project.
The Chairman of Pakistan’s Senate, Mr Raza Rabbani during a recent meeting with the visiting Speaker of Iran’s Majlis (parliament)Mr Ali Larijani said that recent developments in the world and Donald Trump’s decision to shift the US embassy at Tel Aviv to Holy Quds (Jerusalem) have brought Iran and Pakistan even closer to each other.
Senator Rabbani who is a seasoned statesman with a close eye on world events was in fact giving a wake-up call to the Pakistani and Iranian people. The US President is purposely reneging on America’s word to Iran by revisiting the nuclear deal. On the other hand the other nations, the UK, France, Germany and Russia have refused to follow the US as Iran has honoured its commitments.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, the US has dragged out every dirty trick from its bag to put pressure on Pakistan, from its usual “Do More” mantra to questioning the territorial integrity. The latest Dirty trick was President Donald Trump’s tweet on Jan 01, 2018 in a new year tweet saying Pakistan had taken $33 billion to do nothing. This set off a storm and Pakistan decided to stand up for its honour.
Pakistan and Iran have to realise that in this dark hour for both countries, either they stand close together as twins and blood brother to survive as independent honourable nations. The need of the hour, is that friendship of Pakistan and Iran should reflect the close Pakistan and China ties. Higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans. Any other option is a sure recipe for disaster for Islamabad as well as Tehran.

The Real Concern About The Nuclear Button

When President Donald Trump bragged recently that his nuclear “button” was bigger and more efficient than North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s “button,” he was perpetuating the myth that the leaders of nuclear-armed nations control their weapons. But you do not have to be Trump, Kim, Vladimir Putin, Theresa May, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Mamnoon Hussain, or Benjamin Netanyahu to push that “button.” There are thousands of buttons and thousands of people who can initiate a nuclear war.
Indeed, the very nature of nuclear weapons requires that the power to use them is decentralized and dispersed. And while it is sobering to think of leaders like Kim and Trump with their finger on the trigger, a nuclear war is far more likely to be started by some anonymous captain in an Ohio-class submarine patrolling the Pacific or a Pakistani colonel on the Indian border.
In his book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Daniel Ellsberg says that the recent uproar over Trump’s threats to visit “fire and fury” on North Korea misses the point that “every president has delegated” the authority to use nuclear weapons. “The idea that the president is the only one with the sole power to issue an order that will be recognized as an authentic authorized order is totally false,” he told NPR.
If a single “button” were the case, decapitating a country’s leader would prevent the use of nuclear weapons. Take out Washington (or Mar-a-Lago), Moscow, or Beijing and you would neutralize a nation’s nuclear force. In reality, the decision to use those weapons merely shifts further down the chain of command. The Russians call it “dead hand”: Moscow goes, and some general in the Urals launches an ICBM or the captain of a Borei-class submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk fires off his multiple war head SS-N-32 “Bulava” missiles.
During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, a single commodore on a Soviet submarine off Cuba, Vasili Arkhipov, refused to okay an order by the sub’s first and second in command to launch a nuclear tipped torpedo at U.S. warships that were harassing the vessel. If he had not intervened, according to Ellsberg, it is quite likely there would have been a nuclear war between the U.S., its allies, and the Soviet Union.
The problem with nuclear weapons—besides the fact that they are capable of destroying human civilizations and most life on the planet—is that they are actually quite fragile, with a very limited life span. “Use them or lose them” is the philosophy of nuclear war planners, because if you hesitate, your opponent may destroy them before they can be launched.
The more efficient and accurate your nuclear force, the more destabilizing it becomes. For instance, the U.S. has thousands of nuclear weapons deployed in a “triad”: air, land, and sea. To attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons would be tantamount to committing suicide, because no matter how large the attacking force was, it would be almost impossible to eliminate every warhead.
Russia also has vast numbers of weapons, although they are more vulnerable than those of the U.S. Russia has fewer ballistic missile subs, does not really have a modern strategic bomber force, and its land-based missiles are endangered by recent American breakthroughs in warhead technology. According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the U.S. now has the capability to “destroy all of Russia’s ICBM silos” in a first strike and still retain 80 percent of its warheads in reserve.
A “first strike” attack—also called “counterforce”—has always been central to U.S. military planning, and was recently adopted by the Russians as well. As a result, both nations keep their nuclear forces on a hair trigger, fearful that the other side could neutralize their nuclear weapons with a first strike.
The danger here, of course, is war by mistake, and there have been at least a half dozen incidents where the two countries have come within minutes of a nuclear exchange. A weather rocket, a flock of geese, an errant test tape—all have brought the world to the edge of disaster.
The timeframe for making a decision about whether one is under attack or not is extremely narrow. It is estimated that the U.S. would have about 30 minutes to determine whether an attack was real, but, because the Russians do not have a reliable satellite warning system, that time frame would be about 15 minutes or less for Moscow.
China and India had a no-first use policy, but recently New Delhi adopted “counterforce” strategy. Britain, France, and Pakistan all reserve the right to first-use. The Israeli government refuses to admit it has nuclear weapons, so it is unclear what its policies are.
Of all the nuclear-armed countries, North Korea is the most vulnerable, simply because it probably has no more than 50 or so nuclear weapons. There is a caveat here: U.S. intelligence has been consistently wrong on Pyongyang’s capabilities. It underestimated its ability to produce long-range missiles, it disparaged its capacity to produce a hydrogen bomb, and it miscalculated its capacity to wage cyber war. In short, the U.S. has no idea what would happen if it attacked North Korea.
Almost all estimates are that such a war would range from calamitous to catastrophic. And nuclear weapons are likely to make it the latter. The recent talk in Washington about a limited attack on North Korea—the so-called “bloody nose” strategy—could be seen by Pyongyang as an attempt to take out its small nuclear force. Under the rule of “use them or lose them,” North Korea might decide to launch them locally (against South Korea), regionally (against Japan), or even at the U.S. Estimates of the outcome of such a war range from the hundreds of thousands to several million dead.
Apparently there is also a plan to take out Kim Jong Un, but decapitating North Korea’s leadership merely devolves the decision to use nuclear weapons to some commander in the field. Plus, eliminating a nation’s leader would make it almost impossible to halt such a war. Whom would one negotiate with?
In the end, the problem comes down to the nature of nuclear weapons themselves. Their enormous power and ability to strike quickly makes them vulnerable, and that vulnerability requires that the decision to use them be decentralized.
The recent scare that a ballistic missile was headed toward Hawaii was a bureaucratic screw up, someone pushing the wrong button on a computer. But that is how the world could end. Consider the following scenario:
An Ohio-class submarine armed with 24 Trident II ballistic missiles is on patrol in the East China Sea. Each Trident II missile has eight W-76 or W-88 warheads, 192 in all. The former pack a 100-kiloton punch, the latter up to 475 kilotons. In total, the submarine can generate up to 91,200 kilos of explosive force. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was 15 kilotons. The U.S. has 18 Ohio-class submarines.
A report comes over the COM that a missile is headed toward Hawaii, and then communications go dead, a not uncommon occurrence, according to Ellsberg. The captain of the Ohio-class sub knows he is not alone out there. Stalking him could be a Russian Yasen-class or Chinese Shang-class hunter-killer submarine. The U.S. captain needs to make a decision: use them or lose them.

The nuclear danger extends far beyond the button-contest between Kim and Trump. | Kim Jong Un photo: Korean Central News Agency | Trump photo: Evan Vucci / AP
It doesn’t take a major crisis to touch off a nuclear war. Maybe things get a little out of hand between Indian and Chinese troops on a disputed Himalayan plateau. Maybe India employs its “cold start” strategy of a limited military incursion into Pakistan and some local Pakistani field officer panics and launches a tactical nuclear weapon. The recently released U.S. Nuclear Posture Review posits using nuclear weapons in the case of a major cyber attack.
As Beatrice Fihn of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons puts it, “Our extinction could be one insult away.”
Some 252 million years ago, something catastrophic happened to the planet. A combination of massive volcanic activity, asteroid strikes, and the release of stored up carbon dioxide in the oceans killed 96 percent of life in the sea and 70 percent of land life. Called the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, it was the greatest die-off in our planet’s history.
Unless we get serious about abolishing nuclear weapons—something 122 nations voted to do last July—some unnamed captain in a submarine could do the same.
There are lots and lots and lots of buttons out there.

Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Rev 6:12)
US Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers
New York Times

JULY 17, 2014
Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”
The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.
“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.
Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.
“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”
Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”
He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.
The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.
A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.
“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.”
Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”

Babylon the Great Unprepared for Nuclear War (Revelation 18)

The recent false alarm in Hawaii underscores the threat from nuclear devices. While there has been media attention placed on how the United States is taking military and diplomatic action against North Korea from launching a nuclear strike, there is little media attention given to how well the United States is medically prepared for a nuclear attack. According to a recent report in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, U.S. cities are not medically prepared for a nuclear detonation. This report, written by Dr. Jerome Hauer, who was the former assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asserts that the United States is completely unprepared to manage the aftermath of a nuclear detonation. We are at a moment in history where nuclear terrorism is an unfortunate reality. North Korea and Iran have established nuclear capabilities, and Pakistan has stockpiles of highly enriched uranium.
These countries have a history of supporting terrorist groups. It has been acknowledged by our government that highly enriched uranium can be smuggled into this country to build a 10-kiliton improvised nuclear bomb, like that dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. A nuclear threat would even include a dirty bomb that combines a conventional explosive with radioactive isotopes, which could contaminate an area and leave a residual radioactive “hot zone” that is too dangerous for even first responders to enter. Also, radioactive particles can disperse into the air and create a “plume” that could extend hundreds of miles away from ground zero and create a contamination area that would last for years.
A nuclear blast would instantly release a massive pressure wave and heat that would incinerate everything within half a mile and kill an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 people. Another 100,000 to 200,000 would suffer complexed radiation burns, while others would be exposed to high doses of radiation that would cause acute radiation syndrome that is characterized by bone marrow failure and gastrointestinal, cardiac, neurological and pulmonary toxicity. The starkest fact about a nuclear bomb attack is that it destroys the capacity to respond from a medical and civil service perspective. There will be a loss of local government services from firefighters, police and hospitals, along with loss of water, sewage and utilities. There will be a loss of communication systems to direct survivors where to evacuate for treatment.
The management of mass casualties from nuclear detonation is far more complex than for natural disasters. Hot zones are too dangerous for first responders to enter to render medical assistance to casualties. Yet, victims would still need to be evacuated somehow. According to the report, most U.S. cities lack medical preparedness to manage the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. FEMA has not devoted enough attention to address this issue. This makes it important for cities and states to develop plans for the worse case scenarios. Each state should have a plan of preparedness that includes special medical triage centers; coordinated schemes from state military and local police to provide mobile communication assets and protection against civil unrest; and specialized trained hospitals that can medical manage the injuries associated with a nuclear bomb. There needs to be a statewide plan from the governor’s office from each state, along with each state’s department of public health, to ensure there is sufficient medical preparedness.
Several government officials stated they were unable to take steps forward out of being accused of inciting fearmongering. However, developing a comprehensive preparedness program against nuclear threats should not just stop with military action but should include a medical preparation program regardless of how politically undesirable the subject may be. Preparedness should be mandated at every local and state government level.
• Alan Moy is CEO of Cellular Engineering Technologies and scientific director of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The "Chill" of a Nuclear War (Revelation 16)

Chilling numbers
Kudos to Jonathan Baird for his informative overview (Monitor Forum, Jan. 24) of a recent book, The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame. The importance of Ellsberg’s revelations regarding our government’s secret terrifying plans for nuclear war and the implications for renewed dangers today can hardly be exaggerated or ignored. Things were even more perilous than we thought, and Ellsberg believes the nuclear command and control dangers are not now significantly different.
A couple of comments: Baird rightly says that a “limited” nuclear war could easily become large enough to bring on a nuclear winter with catastrophic consequences. A study by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concludes that even an exchange of 100 nuclear bombs (Hiroshima size) between India and Pakistan would cause a nuclear winter and 2 billion deaths, mainly from worldwide crop failure. (Ellsberg learned of a secret U.S. nuclear “total war” plan against the communist enemy in 1961 – with 600 million expected deaths, including 100 million NATO allies. Now that we know about nuclear winter, he says that death toll would have been 2.5 billion people – 99 percent of the world’s population; today, 7-plus billion!)
He chides Donald Trump’s nuclear threat to N. Korea as “irresponsible.” I agree. And I’d add that it’s also a violation of the U.N. Charter Article 2(4) prohibiting “the threat or use” of force.
I agree that Ellsberg “has provided his greatest public service yet.” And I’m glad to say he’s now an honorary member of the Bertrand Russell Society.

New York Overdue for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

For a city that seems to move at the speed of light, being late is never a good thing. That’s true for budget agreements, that’s true for commuter trains, and as it turns out, it’s probably true for earthquakes as well.
We tend to think of seismic activity as a West Coast problem. Friday demonstrated all too well what a magnitude-8.2 earthquake can do to Mexico and Central America; many of us remember the World Series quake that rocked the San Francisco area in 1989. But New York, which is actually riddled with faults, has a long history of earthquakes: On average, the region has witnessed a moderate quake (about a 5.0 on the Richter scale) every hundred years. The last one was in 1884. Seismologists say we can expect the next one any day now.
Admittedly, a moderate quake isn’t going to cause Hollywood-level destruction, nor is it going to raze Manhattan. But it is going to do plenty of damage: upwards of $39 billion in losses and over 30 million tons of debris. That rubble, caused largely by crumbled brick and stone buildings, is going to clog already congested roads, making it impossible for first responders and public transportation to move about the city.
It may be equally difficult to travel below ground in some cases. Take the Steinway Tunnel, a 1.3-mile cast-iron tube that runs deep below the East River. The 7 train passes through it every 20 minutes, often packed with commuters or, this time of year, Mets fans. Construction on the tunnel began around the time of the last earthquake, long before seismic codes or even modern engineering practices had been codified. As a result, there are big craters and gaps where the tunnel lining isn’t actually in contact with the earth around it. In the event of a quake, that’s going to cause the tunnel to rattle around. And because the tunnel runs through both the soft mud of the riverbed and the hard bedrock on either side, different segments are going to rattle around at different speeds and frequencies. That’s doubly bad news for cast iron that was never in very good shape to begin with.
There are more than a dozen tunnels like the Steinway connecting Manhattan to New Jersey and Long Island. They’re all at risk of serious damage in the event of a quake. Just how much of a risk we can’t say, because little has been done to evaluate their seismic soundness. Vince Tirolo, a longtime engineer for the Metropolitan Transit Authority who now serves as a private consultant and adjunct professor at Columbia University, has been sounding the alarm about these tunnels for years. He says he hasn’t received much of a response from the city. As research for my book, “Quakeland,” I contacted the MTA to ask for an interview with the person handling their emergency management and seismic assessment. I wanted to know why more wasn’t being done to fix these beleaguered tunnels or to assess their risk in the event of an earthquake. They told me they couldn’t accommodate my request. I asked why. Nine months later, I’m still waiting for a response.
That doesn’t look good, particularly following the summer of hell, a season marked by delays, derailments and the revelation that both the MTA and the Port Authority have redirected monies toward ski resorts and ferry tickets, rather than shoring up tunnel infrastructure.
It’s doubly concerning given that those faults that crisscross Manhattan are not the only ones capable of seismic activity. Geologists now believe that the Ramapo Fault, which spans 185 miles from the Hudson Highlands through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, may be capable of a much stronger earthquake — maybe even one as strong as a 7.0.
That kind of quake could easily do more damage to the city proper than 9/11 or Superstorm Sandy. And given the fault’s proximity to Indian Point Energy Center, Entergy’s beleaguered nuclear power plant in Westchester County, crumpled brownstones and inactive subway tunnels may be the least of our concerns.
A few years ago, the United States Geological Survey conducted a seismic-risk assessment of all nuclear power plants. Excluding a few plants on the West Coast, Indian Point was deemed the plant with the greatest risk of core damage as a result of seismic activity, a dubious distinction for sure. After the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission required all US plants to undergo an extensive seismic evaluation, with an eye toward instituting additional safeguards and retrofits. Entergy was to submit its evaluation of Indian Point this year. Not only has it failed to do so, but it has made a formal request of the NRC that this requirement be waived altogether, citing the closure of the plant in 2021 as justification for this waiver.
Just how well the plant would perform in an earthquake remains a subject of debate among scientists and engineers. Klaus Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, thinks even a 5.0 quake would raise safety concerns at the plant. A 7.0, he says, could easily do damage to the domes containing the reactors. Meanwhile, the siting of a large natural-gas pipeline near the plant has raised concerns with some nuclear insiders, who predict an explosion could create a Fukushima-like event there. Gas pipelines aren’t held to the same seismic standards as power plants, and they aren’t required to survive a seismic event. They also come with some of the same vulnerabilities seen in tunnels like the Steinway. Were this pipeline to rupture in an earthquake, it could cause a meltdown easily capable of billions of dollars in damage and the evacuation of millions of people.
We don’t have to be left with these doomsday scenarios. While earthquakes will also remain the most powerful and least understood natural disasters, investing in infrastructure and emergency plans can make their eventuality a lot less costly, both in terms of human life and the national economy. For that to happen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio will need to find a way to set aside their differences and agree on a funding package that shores up New York’s most vulnerable tubes and tunnels. The state will need to take a hard look at the real risk of pipelines like the one to be completed near Indian Point. And Congress, now back from its summer recess, will need to find a way to pass a budget that includes real investment in our national infrastructure.
These are matters that can’t wait. New York’s next earthquake may be late, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be pulling into the station soon.


Kathryn Miles is the author of “Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake” (Penguin), out now.
Map: Merguerian, Charles, 2015b, Review of New York City bedrock with a focus on brittle structures; p. 17-67 in Herman, G. C. and Macaoay Ferguson, S., eds., Geological Association of New Jersey Guidebook, Neotectonics of the New York Recess, 32nd Annual Conference and Field Trip, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 214 p.

Iran Prepares for Nuclear War (Daniel 8:4)

The report’s leak comes after Donald Trump has repeatedly branded the Iran nuclear deal, signed under his predecessor Barack Obama, a “very bad deal”.The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also know as the Iran nuclear deal, is an agreement by Tehran to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium – an ingredient used to make nuclear weapons.
In October last year, President Trump warned he was close to tearing up the deal adding Iran was violating the “spirit” of the deal.
At the time the US President said: “We’ll see what phase two is. It might be a total termination. That’s a very real possibility.
“I’m tired of being taken advantage of as a nation.”
Iran has fired at least 23 ballistic missiles – 15 of which are said to be nuke-capable
Now a report by the Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FfDD) reveals Iran fired around 23 missiles since it signed the deal.
The FfDD report said: “Out of all the ballistic missiles Iran fired in 2017, only four or five missiles can be considered nuclear-capable.
“In 2016, Iran fired 10 to 11 missiles that can be considered nuclear-capable.”
“It is highly likely that the administration’s threat intimidated Tehran, altering its flight-testing calculus.”
According to the report’s author, Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the foundation, researchers “identified as many as 23 ballistic missile launches by Iran since the conclusion of the July 2015 nuclear deal”.
The report also cited an Iranian outlet which quoted Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps complaining of test delays over concerns of a potential response by the US.Yesterday the Doomsday Clock time was moved 30 seconds closer to midnight as experts warn humanity edges towards destroying itself with "nuclear weapons taking centre stage”.
The clock now stands at two minutes to midnight following a year of increasing nuclear war threats and as climate change worsened.
The metaphorical clock, created by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, assesses the danger of apocalypse based on the threats such as nuclear Armageddon, bioterrorism, climate change and other catastrophes.
Iran's ballistic missiles on displayGETTY
Donald Trump has repeatedly branded the Iran nuclear deal a 'very bad deal'
It is now the closest it has been to midnight since 1953 when it was also two minutes to midnight – the year hydrogen bombs were being tested for the US and Soviet Union.The scientists said is the “closest to the symbolic point of annihilation that the Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War”.
The FfDD report comes as the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travelled to Europe to meet with his counterparts.
State Department officials said other US officials have already begun Iran talks in Europe.
Speaking after a meeting with Mr Tillerson, Boris Johnson said: “I’d say there was a pretty wide measure of agreement on the European side about the need to look at what Iran is doing on the ballistic missile front and to work out what we can do collectively to constrain that activity and to make a big difference there.”
The Iran nuclear deal which was signed by Tehran was also agreed with the P5+1 which is the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany and the European Union.

The Ramapo Fault and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12) 

Living on the Fault Line

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo

This chart shows the location of the Ramapo Fault System, the longest and one of the oldest systems of cracks in the earth’s crust in the Northeast. It also shows the location of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in New Jersey during the last 50 years. The circle in blue indicates the largest known Jersey quake.

The couple checked with Burns’s parents, who live in nearby Basking Ridge, and they, too, had heard and felt something, which they thought might have been an earthquake. A call by Burns some 20 minutes later to the Bernardsville Police Department—one of many curious and occasionally panicky inquiries that Sunday morning, according to the officer in charge, Sergeant John Remian—confirmed their suspicion: A magnitude 2.6 earthquake, its epicenter in Peapack/Gladstone, about seven miles from Bernardsville, had hit the area. A smaller aftershock followed about two and a half hours later.
After this year’s epic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, and China, the 2.6 quake and aftershock that shook parts of New Jersey in February may seem minor league, even to the Somerset County residents who experienced them. On the exponential Richter Scale, a magnitude 7.0 quake like the one that hit Haiti in January is almost 4 million times stronger than a quake of 2.6 magnitude. But comparisons of magnitude don’t tell the whole story.

Northern New Jersey straddles the Ramapo Fault, a significant ancient crack in the earth’s crust. The longest fault in the Northeast, it begins in Pennsylvania and moves into New Jersey, trending northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before terminating in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant. And though scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is, many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. The fault line is visible at ground level and likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.
During the past 230 years or so, New Jersey has been at the epicenter of nearly 170 earthquakes, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Geological Survey, part of the United States Department of Environmental Protection. The largest known quake struck in 1783, somewhere west of New York City, perhaps in Sussex County. It’s typically listed as 5.3 in magnitude, though that’s an estimate by seismologists who are quick to point out that the concept of magnitude—measuring the relative size of an earthquake—was not introduced until 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg. Still, for quakes prior to that, scientists are not just guessing.

“We can figure out the damage at the time by going back to old records and newspaper accounts,” says Won-Young Kim, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, directly across the New Jersey border. “Once the amount and extent of contemporary damage has been established,” Kim says, “we’re then able to gauge the pattern of ground shaking or intensity of the event—and from there extrapolate its probable magnitude.”

Other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher have been felt in New Jersey, although their epicenters laying near New York City. One—which took place in 1737 and was said to have been felt as far north as Boston and as far south as northern Delaware—was probably in the 5 to 5.5 range. In 1884, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurred off New York’s Rockaway Beach. This well-documented event pulled houses off their foundations and caused steeples to topple as far west as Rahway. The shock wave, scientists believe, was felt over 70,000 square miles, from Vermont to Maryland.

Among the largest sub-5 magnitude earthquakes with epicenters in New Jersey, two (a 3.8 and a 4.0) took place on the same day in 1938 in the Lakehurst area in Ocean County. On August 26, 2003, a 3.5 magnitude quake shook the Frenchtown/Milford area in Hunterdon County. On February 3 of last year, a 3.0 magnitude quake occurred in the Morris County town of Mendham. “A lot of people felt this one because of the intense shaking, although the area of intensity wasn’t very wide,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim, who visited the site after the event.

After examining the known historical and geological record, Kim and other seismologists have found no clear evidence that an earthquake of greater than 5.3 to 5.5 magnitude has taken place in this area going back to 1737. This doesn’t mean, of course, that one did not take place in the more remote past or that one will not occur in the future; it simply means that a very large quake is less likely to occur here than in other places in the east where the seismic hazard is greater, including areas in South Carolina and northeastern New York State.

But no area on the East Coast is as densely populated or as heavily built-up as parts of New Jersey and its neighbors. For this reason, scientists refer to the Greater New York City-Philadelphia area, which includes New Jersey’s biggest cities, as one of “low earthquake hazard but high vulnerability.” Put simply, the Big One isn’t likely here—but if it comes, especially in certain locations, watch out.
Given this low-hazard, high-vulnerability scenario, how far along are scientists in their efforts to predict larger magnitude earthquakes in the New Jersey area? The answer is complex, complicated by the state’s geographical position, its unique geological history, the state of seismology itself, and the continuing debate over the exact nature and activity of the Ramapo Fault.

Over millions of years, New Jersey developed four distinct physiographic provinces or regions, which divide the state into a series of diagonal slices, each with its own terrain, rock type, and geological landforms.

The northernmost slice is the Valley and Ridge, comprising major portions of Sussex and Warren counties. The southernmost slice is the Coastal Plain, a huge expanse that covers some three-fifths of the state, including all of the Shore counties. Dividing the rest of the state are the Highlands, an area for the most part of solid but brittle rock right below the Valley and Ridge, and the lower lands of the Piedmont, which occupy all of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, most of Bergen, Hunterdon, and Somerset, and parts of Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.

For earthquake monitors and scientists, the formation of these last two provinces—the Highlands and the Piedmont—are of special interest. To understand why, consider that prior to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean, today’s Africa was snuggled cozily up against North America and surrounded by a single enormous ocean. “At that point, you could have had exits off the New Jersey Turnpike for Morocco,” says Alexander Gates, professor of geology and chair of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.

Under the pressure of circulating material within the Earth’s super-hot middle layer, or mantle, what was once a single continent—one that is thought to have included today’s other continents as well—began to stretch and eventually break, producing numerous cracks or faults and ultimately separating to form what became the Atlantic Ocean. In our area, the longest and most active of these many cracks was the Ramapo Fault, which, through a process known as normal faulting, caused one side of the earth’s crust to slip lower—the Piedmont—relative to the other side—the Highlands. “All this occurred about 225 million years ago,” says Gates. “Back then, you were talking about thousands of feet between the Highlands and the Piedmont and a very active Ramapo Fault.”

The Earth’s crust, which is 20 to 25 miles thick, is not a single, solid shell, but is broken into seven vast tectonic plates, which drift atop the soft, underlying mantle. Although the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault neatly divides two of New Jersey’s four physiographic provinces, it does not form a so-called plate boundary, as does California’s infamous San Andreas Fault. As many Californians know all too well, this giant fault forms the boundary between two plates—to the west, the Pacific Plate, and to the east, the North American Plate; these rub up against each other, producing huge stresses and a regularly repeating pattern of larger earthquakes.

The Ramapo Fault sits on the North American Plate, which extends past the East Coast to the middle of the Atlantic, where it meets the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range in constant flux. The consequences of this intraplate setting are huge: First, as Gates points out, “The predictability of bigger earthquakes on…[such] settings is exceedingly poor, because they don’t occur very often.” Second, the intraplate setting makes it more difficult to link our earthquakes to a major cause or fault, as monitors in California can often do.

This second bit of uncertainty is especially troubling for some people, including some in the media who want a neat story. To get around it, they ignore the differences between plate settings and link all of New Jersey’s earthquakes, either directly or implicitly, to the Ramapo Fault. In effect, such people want the Ramapo Fault “to look like the San Andreas Fault,” says Gates. “They want to be able to point to one big fault that’s causing all of our earthquakes.”

Gates does not think that’s the case, and he has been working with colleagues for a number of years to prove it. “What we have found is that there are smaller faults that generally cut from east to west across the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault,” he explains. “These much smaller faults are all over the place, and they’re actually the ones that are the active faults in the area.”

But what mechanisms are responsible for the formation of these apparently active auxiliary faults? One such mechanism, say scientists, is the westward pressure the Atlantic Ocean exerts on the North American Plate, which for the most part resists any movement. “I think we are in an equilibrium state most of the time,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim.

Still, that continuous pressure on the plate we sit on causes stress, and when that stress builds up sufficiently, the earth’s crust has a tendency to break around any weak zones. In our area, the major weak zone is the Ramapo Fault—“an ancient zone of weakness,” as Kim calls it. That zone of weakness exacerbates the formation of auxiliary faults, and thereby the series of minor earthquakes the state has experienced over the years.

All this presupposes, of course, that any intraplate stress in this area will continue to be released gradually, in a series of relatively minor earthquakes or releases of energy. But what if that were not the case? What if the stress continued to build up, and the release of large amounts of energy came all at once? In crude terms, that’s part of the story behind the giant earthquakes that rocked what is now New Madrid, Missouri, between 1811 and 1812. Although estimates of their magnitude have been revised downward in recent years to less than magnitude 8, these earthquakes are generally regarded as among the largest intraplate events to have occurred in the continental United States.

For a number of reasons—including the relatively low odds that the kind of stored energy that unleashed the New Madrid events could ever build up here—earthquakes of plus-6 magnitude are probably not in our future. Still, says Kim, even a magnitude 6 earthquake in certain areas of the state could do considerable damage, especially if its intensity or ground shaking was of sufficient strength. In a state as geologically diverse and densely populated as New Jersey, this is a crucial wild card.
Part of the job of the experts at the New Jersey Geological Survey is to assess the seismic hazards in different parts of the state. To do this, they use a computer-simulation model developed under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as HAZUS, for Hazards US. To assess the amount of ground shaking likely to occur in a given county during events ranging in magnitude from 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale, NJGS scientists enter three features of a county’s surface geology into their computer model. Two of these features relate to the tendency of soil in a given area to lose strength, liquefy, or slide downhill when shaken. The third and most crucial feature has to do with the depth and density of the soil itself and the type of bedrock lying below it; this is a key component in determining a region’s susceptibility to ground shaking and, therefore, in estimating the amount of building and structural damage that’s likely to occur in that region. Estimates for the various counties—nine to date have been studied—are sent to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, which provided partial funding for the project.

To appreciate why this element of ground geology is so crucial to earthquake modelers, consider the following: An earthquake’s intensity—which is measured on something called the Modified Mercalli Scale—is related to a number of factors. The amount of energy released or the magnitude of an event is clearly a big factor. But two earthquakes of the same magnitude can have very different levels of intensity; in fact, it’s quite possible for a lower magnitude event to generate more ground shaking than a higher magnitude one.

In addition to magnitude, other factors that affect intensity are the distance of the observer or structure from the epicenter, where intensity is the greatest; the depth beneath the surface of the initial rupture, with shallower ruptures producing more ground shaking than deeper ones; and, most significantly, the ground geology or material that the shock wave generated by the earthquake must pass through.

As a rule, softer materials like sand and gravel shake much more intensely than harder materials, because the softer materials are comparatively inefficient energy conductors, so whatever energy is released by the quake tends to be trapped, dispersing much more slowly. (Think of a bowl of Jell-O on a table that’s shaking.)

In contrast, harder materials, like the solid rock found widely in the Highlands, are brittle and break under pressure, but conduct energy well, so that even big shock waves disperse much more rapidly through them, thereby weakening the amount of ground shaking. “If you’ve read any stories about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, you know the most intense damage was in those flat, low areas by the Bay, where the soil is soft, and not in the hilly, rocky areas above,” says Karl Muessig, state geologist and NJGS head.

The map that accompanies the online version of the NJGS’s Earthquake Loss Estimation Study divides the state’s surface geology into five seismic soil classes, ranging from Class A, or hard rock, to Class E, or soft soil (

Although the weakest soils are scattered throughout the state, including the Highlands, which besides harder rock also contains areas of glacial lakes, clays, and wetlands, they are most evident in the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. “The largest expanses of them are in coastal areas where you have salt marshes or large glacial lakes, as in parts of the Passaic River basin,” says Scott Stanford, a research scientist with NJGS and lead author of the estimate. Some of the very weakest soils, Stanford adds, are in areas of filled marshland, including places along the Hudson waterfront, around Newark Bay and the Meadowlands, and along the Arthur Kill.

Faults in these areas—and in the coastal plain generally—are far below the ground, perhaps several hundred to a thousand feet down, making identification difficult. “There are numerous faults upon which you might get earthquake movement that we can’t see, because they’re covered by younger sediments,” Stanford says.

This combination of hidden faults and weak soils worries scientists, who are all too aware that parts of the coastal plain and Piedmont are among the most densely populated and developed areas in the state. (The HAZUS computer model also has a “built environment” component, which summarizes, among other things, types of buildings in a given area.) For this reason, such areas would be in the most jeopardy in the event of a large earthquake.

“Any vulnerable structure on these weak soils would have a higher failure hazard,” Stanford says. And the scary truth is that many structures in New Jersey’s largest cities, not to mention New York City, would be vulnerable, since they’re older and built before anyone gave much thought to earthquake-related engineering and construction codes.

For example, in the study’s loss estimate for Essex County, which includes Newark, the state’s largest city, a magnitude 6 event would result in damage to 81,600 buildings, including almost 10,000 extensively or completely; 36,000 people either displaced from their homes or forced to seek short-term shelter; almost $9 million in economic losses from property damage and business interruption; and close to 3,300 injuries and 50 fatalities. (The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation has conducted a similar assessment for New York City, at
All of this suggests the central irony of New Jersey geology: The upland areas that are most prone to earthquakes—the counties in or around the Ramapo Fault, which has spawned a network of splays, or auxiliary faults—are much less densely populated and sit, for the most part, on good bedrock. These areas are not invulnerable, certainly, but, by almost all measures, they would not sustain very severe damage, even in the event of a higher magnitude earthquake. The same can’t be said for other parts of the state, where the earthquake hazard is lower but the vulnerability far greater. Here, the best we can do is to prepare—both in terms of better building codes and a constantly improving emergency response.
Meanwhile, scientists like Rutgers’s Gates struggle to understand the Earth’s quirky seismic timetable: “The big thing with earthquakes is that you can commonly predict where they are going to occur,” Gates says. “When they’re going to come, well, we’re nowhere near being able to figure that out.”
Planning for the Big One

For the men and women of the state police who manage and support the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the response to some events, like hurricanes, can be marshalled in advance. But an earthquake is what responders call a no-notice event.

In New Jersey, even minor earthquakes—like the one that shook parts of Somerset County in February—attract the notice of local, county, and OEM officials, who continuously monitor events around the state from their Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (The ROIC) in West Trenton, a multimillion dollar command-and-control facility that has been built to withstand 125 mph winds and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. In the event of a very large earthquake, during which local and county resources are apt to become quickly overwhelmed, command and control authority would almost instantly pass to West Trenton.

Here, officials from the state police, representatives of a galaxy of other state agencies, and a variety of communications and other experts would assemble in the cavernous and ultra-high tech Emergency Operations Center to oversee the state’s response. “A high-level earthquake would definitely cause the governor to declare a state of emergency,” says OEM public information officer Nicholas J. Morici. “And once that takes place, our emergency operations plan would be put in motion.”

Emergency officials have modeled that plan—one that can be adapted to any no-notice event, including a terrorist attack—on response methodologies developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At its core is a series of seventeen emergency support functions, ranging from transportation to firefighting, debris removal, search and rescue, public health, and medical services. A high-magnitude event would likely activate all of these functions, says Morici, along with the human and physical resources needed to carry them out—cranes and heavy trucks for debris removal, fire trucks and teams for firefighting, doctors and EMTs for medical services, buses and personnel carriers for transportation, and so on.

This is where an expert like Tom Rafferty comes in. Rafferty is a Geographic Information Systems Specialist attached to the OEM. His job during an emergency is to keep track electronically of which resources are where in the state, so they can be deployed quickly to where they are needed. “We have a massive database called the Resource Directory Database in which we have geolocated municipal, county, and state assets to a very detailed map of New Jersey,” Rafferty says. “That way, if there is an emergency like an earthquake going on in one area, the emergency managers can quickly say to me, for instance, ‘We have major debris and damage on this spot of the map. Show us the location of the nearest heavy hauler. Show us the next closest location,’ and so on.”

A very large quake, Rafferty says, “could overwhelm resources that we have as a state.” In that event, OEM has the authority to reach out to FEMA for additional resources and assistance. It can also call upon the private sector—the Resource Directory has been expanded to include non-government assets—and to a network of volunteers. “No one has ever said, ‘We don’t want to help,’” Rafferty says. New Jersey officials can also request assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an agreement among the states to help each other in times of extreme crisis.
“You always plan for the worst,” Rafferty says, “and that way when the worst doesn’t happen, you feel you can handle it if and when it does.”

Contributing editor Wayne J. Guglielmo lives in Mahwah, near the Ramapo Fault.