Russia Nuking on NATO’s Doorstep (Daniel 7)

The Polish government reacted angrily to Russia’s move, calling it „very alarming“, while Lithuanian officials said it could breach an international nuclear weapons treaty.
Linas Linkevicius, Lithuania’s foreign minister, said on Saturday that Russia was using the deployment „to seek concessions from the West“. Moscow’s move came amid heightened tensions between Russia and western countries over Syria.
Russian officials, however, dismissed the concerns, saying that „contingents of missile troops have been moved many times and will continue to be moved to Kaliningrad region as part of a Russian armed forces training plan“.
Kaliningrad is „not an exception“ to drills conducted across the country, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in an emailed statement.
Konashenkov said that one Iskander was placed in the open to „confirm the parameters of operation“ of a US intelligence satellite he alleged was flying overhead.
Wedged between Poland and Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is vital to Russia’s strategic position.
Separated from the Russian mainland by 700km, it is the westernmost part of Russia. It houses the Russian Baltic Fleet, as well as multiple land forces and an air force detachment with fighters, bombers and helicopters, as well as an early-warning radar system and other equipment.
Moscow sent Iskanders to Kaliningrad in 2015 during a series of massive military drills as tensions with the West reached their worst point since the Cold War, triggered by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its military campaign in Syria a year later.
The US on Friday called for Russia and Syria to be investigated for war crimes for the bombing of hospitals in Aleppo, and accused Moscow of trying to „interfere“ with the American presidential election.
‚Divide, intimidate‘
Judy Dempsey, a senior associate at Carnegie Europe, told AFP that Moscow’s latest Iskander deployment to Kaliningrad is „a way to divide the West“, just weeks before the US presidential election.
„These types of moves by Russia are making the Europeans and the US nervous. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is pressing all the buttons,“ Dempsey said.
„Tensions over Iskander have been going on for seven years. It’s a very tried way to pressure the West.
„The latest events in Kaliningrad are a way to intimidate the Baltics and Poland,“ she added.
Putin calls for stronger Russia at parliament opening
Michal Baranowski, Warsaw office director of the German Marshall Fund of the US, said the Iskander deployment is „obviously an openly aggressive move, but it isn’t something that would require an immediate response from NATO – it fits the previous pattern“.
„I would be much more worried if Moscow were to deploy greater conventional forces to Kaliningrad,“ he told AFP on Saturday.
Vilnius University analyst Laurynas Jonavicius however warned the sabre-rattling by „revisionist Russia“ raises the risk of incidents in the Baltic region which could prompt a major crisis.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian intelligence warned earlier this year that Iskanders deployed in Kaliningrad „may be used for hindering the actions of NATO’s allied forces in the region“.
Since the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, Russia has flexed its muscles with a series of war games involving tens of thousands of troops in areas bordering NATO Baltic states.
NATO responded by agreeing to deploy four battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as of next year to bolster its eastern flank.
Source: News Agencies

Authorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquake
New York Times
Earthquake!
By SAM ROBERTS
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.
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.
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.

Russian Horn Prepares For Nuclear War

By Michael Snyder
In Russia there is talk that war with the United States is inevitable, and they are feverishly preparing to win such a war when it happens. Thanks to tensions over Ukraine, Syria and the price of oil, U.S. relations with Russia are the worst that they have been since at least the end of the Cold War. In fact, one false move could result in U.S. and Russian forces shooting at each other in Syria as you will see below. The Russians have worked incredibly hard to upgrade and modernize their military in recent years, but meanwhile the U.S. military is being transformed into a radically politically-correct social experiment by the Obama administration. Most Americans simply assume that we will never fight a war with Russia, and that if for some reason we did that we would win easily. Unfortunately, things have changed dramatically over the past decade, and the truth is that the Russians now have the upper hand.
Most Americans are accustomed to thinking that we have such an overwhelming strategic nuclear arsenal that nobody would ever dare mess with us. At one time that was true, but now it isn’t. In fact, the size of the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal has been reduced by more than 95 percent since the end of the Cold War, and now the Russians actually have more deployed nuclear warheads than we do. The following comes from the Daily Beast…
While the U.S. military has been steadily cutting the number of nukes it loads on submarines and bombers and in missile silos,Russian forces have recently been adding more.
Seemingly more worrying for the United States, Russia’s 1,796 deployed warheads exceed—by a whopping 246 weapons—the cap of 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons that Moscow and Washington agreed to as part of the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The United States, meanwhile, is already well below the New START cap. America’s missile submarines, nuclear-capable heavy bombers, and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles are armed with just 1,367 warheads, the State Department says.
The Sarmat will weigh at least 100-tons and carry a 10-ton payload. That means the missile could carry as many as 15 independently targeted thermo-nuclear warheads. It has a range of at least 6,000 miles. Once it is operational, it will be the largest ICBM ever built.
Like other modern Russian ICBMs such as the Yars, Topol-M and the Bulava, the Sarmat is being designed specifically to overcome ballistic missile defenses using a combination of decoys, a host of countermeasures and sheer speed. It might also be equipped with maneuvering warheads—which would make it much more difficult to intercept.
We have no way to stop the Sarmat, so once it is launched we are defenseless against it.
And each missile carries 15 independently targeted warheads, and so that means that for each missile that goes up, 15 warheads come down. Every one of those warheads can be directed to a different city, and so one Sarmat missile could essentially destroy an area approximately the size of Texas.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military continues to use hopelessly outdated technology. 60 Minutes has shown that many of our nuclear silos are still using rotary phones and the kind of 8-inch floppy disks that you can hold in your hand and actually flop around. And the Obama administration plans to keep Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles that were originally deployed in the 1960s and 1970s in serviceuntil 2030.
Of even greater concern than the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile are the “black hole submarines” that Russia has developed. These stealth submarines are so quiet and so invisible that they can come right up to our coastlines without us even knowing that they are there.
So someday a fleet of Russian submarines may suddenly surface just off both coasts, launch a barrage of nuclear missiles at us, and we would only have moments to try to decide what to do before our cities, our nuclear forces and our leadership started getting hit by nukes.
And guess what? The Russians have now developed even newer submarines that are even quieter and stealthier than the subs that the U.S. Navy referred to as“black holes”…
“The stealth capabilities of Russia’s new Lada-class diesel-electric submarines far exceed those of their predecessors, Admiraty Shipyard’s CEO Alexander Buzakov told the Russian press.
“According to Buzakov, the new vessels are even stealthier than Russian Kilo-class submarines, thought to be one of the quietest diesel-electric submarine classes in the world and dubbed “black holes” for their ability to “disappear” from sonars.
“The new submarines are able to maintain such a low profile thanks to a clever implementation of a next-generation anti-reflective acoustic coating and a new improved hydro-acoustic system, Buzakov said.
In a surprise attack scenario, the U.S. may be able to get some missiles off at the Russians, but the Russians also have the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems in the entire world. In fact, it is believed that the S-500 system will be able to intercept any of our missiles before they even get to Russia. The following info about the S-500 comes from military-today.com…
The S-500 is not an upgrade of the S-400, but a new design. It uses a lot of new technology and is superior to the S-400. It was designed to intercept ballistic missiles. It is planned to have a range of 500-600 km and hit targets at altitudes as high as 40 km. Some sources claim that this system is capable of tracking 5-20 ballistic targets and intercepting up to 5-10 ballistic targets simultaneously. It can defeat ballistic missiles traveling at 5-7 kilometers per second. It has been reported that this air defense system can also target low orbital satellites. It is planned that the S-500 will shield Moscow and the regions around it. It will replace the current A-135 anti-ballistic missile system. The S-500 missiles will be used only against the most important targets, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, AWACS and jamming aircraft.
And you may have heard that the Russians have been deploying S-300 and S-400 missile systems to Syria. After hearing reports that the Obama administration may conduct direct strikes against Syrian military positions, the Russians responded by reminding the U.S. that the S-300 and S-400 systems will be used against any targets that attack areas controlled by the Syrian government. The following comes from RT…
Russia’s Defense Ministry has cautioned the US-led coalition of carrying out airstrikes on Syrian army positions, adding in Syria there are numerous S-300 and S-400 air defense systems up and running.
Russia currently has S-400 and S-300 air-defense systems deployed to protect its troops stationed at the Tartus naval supply base and the Khmeimim airbase. The radius of the weapons reach may be “a surprise” to all unidentified flying objects, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson General Igor Konashenkov said.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, any airstrike or missile hitting targets in territory controlled by the Syrian government would put Russian personnel in danger.
And the official Russian embassy account on Twitter has issued an ominous warning as well…
All jokes aside, #Russia will take every defensive measure necessary to protect its personnel stationed in #Syria from terrorist threat.
All jokes aside, #Russia will take every defensive measure necessary to protect its personnel stationed in #Syria from terrorist threat. pic.twitter.com/6vc4X9lGyT
— Russian Embassy, USA (@RusEmbUSA) October 5, 2016
So what would happen if U.S. military aircraft started getting shot down by the Russians in Syria?
I don’t know the answer to that question, and let’s hope that we don’t find out.
Another thing that has raised a lot of eyebrows is a massive “civil defense drill” in Russia that just concluded that involved 40 million people. Many believe that the primary purpose of this drill was to prepare the population for a nuclear war. The following comes from a major British news source…
The huge four-day “civil defence” drill has set alarm bells ringing in Washington and London, with tensions already high over disagreements in Syria.
Following a breakdown in communication between the USA and Russia, the Kremlin has now organised the huge emergency practice drill – either as a show of force or something more sinister.
The drill will prepare Russian citizens for “large natural and man-made disasters”, according to the country’s Ministery for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disaster.
The ministry revealed 40 million civilians, 200,000 emergency rescuers and 50,000 units of equipment are involved in the war game, which is running from October 4 to October 7.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but there are hundreds and hundreds of nuclear bomb shelters in Moscow alone. If a nuclear war were to start, Russian citizens are going to have somewhere to go.
Meanwhile, here in the United States no provision has been made for the general population. When the missiles start falling the only thing that will be left for us to do will be to kiss ourselves goodbye.
It seems like our relationship with Russia gets worse with each passing week. This week, the Obama administration officially accused the Russians of hacking into the DNC and interfering in our elections…
After months of speculation whether the US would officially accuse Russia of being responsible for various intrusions and hacks, primarily involving the Democratic party, moments ago we finally got the long-anticipated confirmation when the US named Russia as the actor behind the hacking attempts on political organizations and, more importantly, state election systems and accused Putin of carrying out a wide-ranging campaign to interfere with the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political officials.
In a statement, the US “intelligence community” said that it is “confident” that the Russian government “directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organisations”, the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence on Election Security said in a joint statement.
The US added that “these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process”.
Over in Russia, they are very upset with us as well.
The Russians believe that the U.S. was responsible for the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Ukraine, they believe that the U.S. helped start the civil war in Syria while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State (and this is true), and they believe that the U.S. pushed the price of oil way down in order to hurt the Russian economy.
And it isn’t just the Russian leadership that is very angry with the United States. According to Gallup, American leadership has a 1 percent approval rating in Russia at this point.
If you listen to Russian media, there is constant talk of war. The Russians consider the U.S. to be the great force for evil in the world, and they consider themselves to be the great force for good in the world. And there seems to be this overwhelming belief that an ultimate confrontation between good and evil is inevitable. Just consider the following excerpt from an article authored by leading Russian thinker Alexander Dugin entitled “Third World War Has Never Been So Close“…
The globalist US leadership obviously cannot rule the whole world and, what’s more, the threat posed by Trump puts their control over America itself into question. Now, while the puppet Barack Obama is still in office and the globalist candidate Hillary Clinton is falling apart in front of American voters’ very eyes, is the last chance to start a war. This would allow them to postpone elections or force Trump, if he were to win, to begin his presidency in catastrophic conditions. Thus, the US neoconservatives and globalists need war. And fast, before it’s too late. If Trump gets into the White House when there will be peace, then there will be no such war, at least for the foreseeable future. And this would spell the end of the omnipotence of the maniacal globalist elites.
Thus, everything at this point is very, very serious. NATO’s ideologues and the US globalists falling into the abyss need war right now – before the American elections. War against us. Not so much for victory, but for the process itself. This is the only way for them to prolong their dominance and divert the attention of Americans and the whole world from their endless series of failures and crimes. The globalists’ game has been revealed. Soon enough, they’ll have to step down from power and appear before court. Only war can save their situation.
But what about us? We don’t need war. Not now, now tomorrow, never. Never in history have we needed war. But we have constantly fought and, in fact, we have almost never lost. The cost entailed terrible losses and colossal efforts, but we won. And we will always win. If this were not so, then today we wouldn’t have such an enormous country free from foreign control.
Most ordinary Americans still think that the Russians are “our friends” and that there is not even the slightest possibility that we could go to war with them.
Let us certainly hope that war with Russia does not happen any time soon, because there is a very good chance that we would not wind up on the winning side.

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

Living on the Fault Line

A major earthquake isn’t likely here, but if it comes, watch out.
Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo
Ramapo_Fault_Line
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.
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.
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 (state.nj.us/dep/njgs/enviroed/hazus.htm).
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.
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 nycem.org.)
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.”
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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 M

The Russian Horn moves into Europe (Daniel 7)

The Guardian
Estonian officials have said that Russia appears to be moving powerful, nuclear capable missiles into Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost province sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast.
The Iskander-M missiles, which have a range of over 500km, are reportedly being transported by ship from the St Petersburg area. It had previously been reported that the Russians might seek to place the Iskander-M missiles in Kaliningrad but not until 2018-19.
If confirmed, the move would be seen by western governments as another sign that Russia is seeking to establish facts on the ground, from eastern Europe to the Middle East, before a new US president takes office in January.
Estonian officials said they were monitoring the ship and its contents. The ship, called the Ambal, was due to dock on Friday; reports of the cargo came from Estonian government sources.
An Estonian defence expert said: “This weapon is highly sophisticated and there is no comparable weapon in western armoury. It can carry nuclear weapons, change direction mid-flight and fly distances of up to 500km. As such it is capable of threatening Poland, including the US missile defence installations there. You would not change the date of the delivery of a system such as this on a whim. The intention is to make a strong strategic point.”
The Russians already have a missile brigade on Kaliningrad, but the OTR-21 Tochka short-range missile is less sophisticated, and not capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The Iskander-M, the Persian name for Alexander the Great, is a ballistic rocket system designed to destroy strategic targets, and its stationing is arguably in breach of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty.
Marko Mihkelson, the chairman of the Estonian parliament’s national defence committee, told Estonian news agency ERR on Friday that since the transportation of the system was now taking place with the help of a civilian vessel, he had reason to think that Russia was trying to take the missiles to Kaliningrad in secret.
Mihkelson added that what was going on was part of a broader security situation, and that it was Russia’s intent to provoke western governments and increase pressure on them. On Monday Russia cancelled its weapon-grade plutonium disposal agreement with the US.
“In any case, what is called for now is to remain calm, and to treat these incidents as attempted blackmail,” Mihkelson said. “Russia is simply showing its desire to reinforce its position at the entrance to the Baltic Sea.”
The chief of staff of the Estonian defence forces, Lt Gen Riho Terras, said Russia’s recent actions show the country’s wish to expand its control of the Baltic Sea.
“In the long term Russia’s wish is to bring the Baltic Sea and the passages leading to it more and more under its control, and to control it much like it does the Black Sea,” Terras said to ERR on Friday.
The Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas said: “References to Iskander missile system being transported by the Baltic Sea to Kaliningrad are certainly alarming and show yet again Russia’s attempts to pressure the west by using different tools.
“This week alone Russia announced that it unilaterally suspended the plutonium disposal agreement, with demands such as the removal of all economic sanctions and compensation for the damage they have caused.
“Russia’s continuous aggressive actions only reaffirm the necessity for Nato’s increased military presence in the Baltic States and Poland.
“I can assure you that Estonia is closely following the developments in the Baltic Sea region.”
On Thursday, a Russian military An-72 aircraft penetrated Estonian airspace over the island of Vaindloo without permission and spent about minute and a half in the country’s airspace.
The aircraft transponder was switched on, but no flight plan was submitted and the aircraft did not respond to radio contact with the Estonian air movement service.
The Estonian foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador to Estonia to hand him a protest note.
Finland said two similar planes had passed over its territory as it prepared to sign a defence pact with the US.