Earthquake activity in the New York City area


Although the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.

Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.

As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island. The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5. For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.


The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.

Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.
At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region,but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

N Korea Successfully Tests Transcontinental Nuke

N. Korea leader orders nuclear warhead test, missile launches

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 11, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) attending the KPA tank crew competition
Seoul (AFP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered an imminent nuclear warhead explosion test and multiple ballistic missile launches, just weeks after being slapped with tough, new UN sanctions, state media reported Tuesday.

The order came after Kim monitored the successful lab-test of the warhead re-entry technology required for a nuclear strike on the US mainland, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.Kim’s comments were the latest in a series of daily statements and warnings by Pyongyang, talking up the North’s nuclear strike capabilities and threatening attacks on Seoul and Washington.

The main focus of the threats have been ongoing, large-scale military exercises by South Korea and the United States that Pyongyang has condemned as rehearsals for invasion.

In order to boost the reliability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent still further, Kim said a nuclear warhead explosion test and test firings of “several kinds” of ballistic rockets would be carried out “in a short time”.

The warning came days after state media released photos of Kim posing with what was claimed to be a miniaturised nuclear warhead capable of fitting on a ballistic missile.

Kim had said last week that the North was planning to conduct new tests to gauge the “destructive power” of the new, miniaturised warheads.

While North Korea is known to have a small stockpile of nuclear weapons, its ability to deliver them accurately to a chosen target on the tip of a ballistic missile has been a subject of heated debate.

– Re-entry test –

There are numerous question marks over the North’s weapons delivery systems, with many experts believing it is still years from developing a working inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could strike the continental United States.

Others have doubted whether any miniaturised device the North has designed so far would be robust enough to survive the shock, vibration and temperature change associated with ballistic flight.

Tuesday’s KCNA report said Kim had personally monitored a test simulating the intense heat and vibration that a nuclear warhead would undergo during atmospheric re-entry.

Using “newly developed heat-resisting material” the warhead was subjected to thermal flows five times hotter than those associated with ICBM flight

The test was a complete success, the agency said, and provided a “sure guarantee” of the warhead’s ability to withstand re-entry.

Tensions have been rising on the Korean peninsula ever since the North conducted its fourth underground nuclear test on January 6, followed by a long-range rocket launch a month later.

The UN Security Council responded by adopting a resolution earlier this month laying out the toughest sanctions imposed on Pyongyang to date over its nuclear weapons programme.

The resolution broke new ground by targeting specific sectors key to the North Korean economy and seeking to undermine the North’s use of, and access to, international transport systems.
For all Pyongyang’s recent claims, most experts rule out the prospect of North Korea launching any sort of nuclear strike with a largely untested system, saying it would be tantamount to suicide given overwhelming US technical superiority.

Antichrist Holds Iraq Sit In (Revelation 13)

Sadr calls Iraq sit-in, urges action against corruption

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s powerful Shiite preacher Moqtada al-Sadr called for a sit-in at the gates of Baghdad’s heavily fortified government district, stepping up pressure on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to deliver on promised anti-corruption reforms.

The protest, that Sadr said would start Friday, threatened to escalate tensions over a long-awaited economic overhaul in the strife-torn oil producer.

Graft is eating away at Baghdad’s resources even as it struggles with falling revenue due to rock-bottom oil prices and high spending due to the costs of the war against Daesh (ISIS) militants.
“I address this historic call to every reform-loving Iraqi … so that he rises up to begin a new phase,” read the statement posted online Saturday from Sadr.

Abadi signaled Friday willingness to agree that the political parties have a say in appointing members of a Cabinet he plans to form to fight corruption and optimize state spending to better cope with the sharp decline in oil revenue.

Intelligence Suggests ISIS Has A Dirty Bomb (Dan 8:7)


ISIS has a ‘dirty’ nuke? Intelligence says they have enough radioactive material

June 12, 2015
10:55 PM MST Facebook Twitter More Comment

ISIS may have a nuclear weapon. According to Australian intelligence sources, the militant group that has sown such violence in eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq in their stated purpose of bringing about a worldwide caliphate have seized enough radioactive material to effectively build a “dirty” nuclear bomb.

The Independent reported June 10 that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has seized enough radioactive material during their reign of terror in the Levant to have the capacity to potentially construct a large and devastating “dirty” bomb. Australian intelligence reports state that the material, which was taken from government facilities captured by ISIS in the past several months, constitutes enough for the militant group to possibly put together their very own WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction).

And with the first anniversary of the declaration of the caliphate and the Islamic religious holiday of Ramadan imminent, there are those that believe that ISIS will be especially active in the next few months. There is also concern that ISIS, in the capture of hospitals and government facilities, may also turn to weaponizing biological and chemical materials. “Isis is likely to begin and end Ramadan with attempted spectacular military offensive actions in Iraq and Syria,” The Independent quoted from a report from the US-based Institute for the Study of War.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, spoke with The Australian about the growing concerns (which are shared by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — NATO), stating that “the insurgents did not just clear out the cash from local banks” when they began fighting for their extremist goals and taking over territory. It has become such a worrisome topic that Bishop spoke about it at the recent meeting of the Australia Group, a 40-nation conference that exists to rid the world of chemical weapons.

Needless to say, the rest of the civilized world would prefer that ISIS never gain enough radioactive material for a “dirty” bomb (or biological and/or chemical material, for that matter). Given that the extremist Islamic organization has shown itself completely insensitive and intolerant to people of other religious sects within and without Islam, it undoubtedly goes without saying that Australian intelligence (and NATO) have developed scenarios of worst-case intensity in regard to the eventuality that ISIS build and use a WMD of some sort.

Besides, ISIS has made it clear that declared its ambition to develop WMDs. In fact, the militants did so in the most recent edition of its propaganda magazine Dabiq (via a separate The Independent article), noting that they could hypothetically purchase a nuclear bomb from Pakistan.

But if one should think that talk of WMDs in the hands of ISIS might be nothing but a psychological scare tactic on the part of the militant group or an alarmist viewpoint taken by Western nations, it should be noted that Indian defense officials have previously warned about the possibility of ISIS gaining a nuclear weapon. Indian officials reported that religious extremists might possibly acquire a nuclear weapon from Pakistan.

Islamic State has proved to be tenacious in its ability to take and hold parts of Syria and Iraq. While some military and foreign affairs experts believe a wait-and-see approach is still called for, others that fear that the ISIS brand of religious extremism could become too entrenched if left to its own propagandist and militant ends.

In a show that the United States is taking the ISIS threat a bit more seriously, President Barack Obama recently ordered an extra 450 military advisers to Iraq to combat the militants. According to CNN, there are currently about 3,050 U.S. forces in Iraq. Most (about 2,250 troops) are deployed in support of Iraqi security forces. Some 450 are engaged in training Iraqi troops and another 200 act as advisers.

The Canadian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Canada to boost strategic ties with India with Defence, nuclear push 
NEW DELHI: Canada is planning to send a delegation to the Def Expo in Goa later this month to explore partnership in the area of defence electronics as it eyes an expansion in strategic ties with India, including an opportunity to set up nuclear reactors in the country.
India is among the top priorities for the Justin Trudeau government that came to power late last year, Canadian High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel told ET.
Last April PM Narendra Modi had the opportunity to meet Trudeau when the latter was the Opposition leader. A Canadian nuclear mission comprising nuclear firms and officials visited India in October last year and both sides have explored cooperation in pressurised heavy water reactors, training, capacity building and nuclear waste management.
“Following this visit there have been intense discussions between the officials of the two countries. Given the opportunity Canada could consider setting up nuclear reactors in India and upgrading Indian reactors run on CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) technology,” Patel said.
Canada will follow the USA, Russia and France in setting up nuclear reactors in India if a decision is taken to allot the country a plant site.
Patel said Canada is partnering India in maintenance aspects of the nuclear sector. The civil nuclear partnership between the two countries entered a new phase with the conclusion of commercial pact during Modi’s trip for supply of uranium from the North American country to energy hungry India.
Following this the first tranche of uranium from Canada arrived here four decades after civil nuclear cooperation was suspended following the test at Pokhran. Canada will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium beginning last year under a $254 million five-year deal to power Indian atomic reactors.