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

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo

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.”

The Problem is Iran, Not Korea

CIA Chief: There is “A Real Risk” That North Korea Will Aid Iran’s Pursuit of a Nuclear Bomb

by BICOM | 01.24.18 11:37 am

The head of CIA warned that a cash-starved and expansionist North Korea could sell its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology to other countries, including Iran, and that failure to halt such activity could trigger a global nuclear arms race.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo spoke about national security challenges at the U.S.-based think-tank the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday.

Pompeo was asked if Iran could use its existing cooperation agreements with North Korea to clandestinely advance its own nuclear weapons program without being discovered by the U.S.

Pompeo said Iranian and North Korean nuclear cooperation is “a real risk,” and “we think we have a pretty good understanding of what is taking place there today. Having said that, I am the first person to admit that intelligence organizations can miss important information.”

“These are terribly difficult problems in incredibly tight spaces, and when you are moving information, it is sometimes difficult to detect that that information has moved,” Pompeo said of such technology transfers. “So if someone asks me as the senior intelligence leader of the CIA, can you guarantee this [would be uncovered], I would say absolutely not.” Pompeo said the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies were working to prevent that.

Pompeo referred to the fear of a global nuclear arms race if North Korea or Iran achieves the ability to mass-produce nuclear weapons: “It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand that if they continue to have that nuclear weapons system… many other countries around the world will decide ‘me too,’ that I want to have one of those things that that guy has.”

North Korea has a history of clandestine military relations with Middle East states. Cooperation between the North Korean and Iranian ballistic missile programmes began in 1985 when Iran financed North Korea’s Scud-B development programme in exchange for the option to purchase production models. That investment bore dividends in 1991 when North Korea developed the 500km range Scud-C missile and sold the weapon and its technology back to Iran and Syria.

In 2007, the Israeli military bombed a suspected North Korean nuclear reactor in Syria that the U.S. believed was built for the purpose of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.

(via BICOM)

[Photo: BICOM]

Iran’s Hegemony is Inevitable (Daniel 8:4)

Top Adviser to Khamenei Says Iran’s Regional Influence ‘Inevitable’: Fars

By Parisa Hafezi

ANKARA (Reuters) – The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday the country’s leadership had no intention of reining in its influence across the Middle East despite U.S. pressure to do so, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who sees Iran as a rising threat to regional stability in the Middle East, has pledged to work with Gulf Arab states and Israel to curb what they say are Tehran’s attempts to extend its influence in the region.

Iran’s influence in the region is inevitable and to remain a key player in the region, this influence will continue,” the adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, was quoted by Fars as saying.

Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, Shi’ite militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

“Iran has no intention to abandon the oppressed nations in the region … Our presence in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon is in coordination with the governments of these countries,” Velayati said.

“Iran is the heart of international developments … America wants to tear down the Middle East … Iran opposes it.”

He also criticized slogans such as “Let go of Palestine,” and “Leave Syria, think about us”, which were chanted by tens of thousands of Iranians protesting against Iran’s unelected clerical elite and Iranian foreign policy in the Middle East.

“Don’t worry about what was instigated by our foreign enemies … Chants like ‘Not Gaza, not Lebanon’ shows their lack of understanding of international affairs… You cannot remain indifferent when your neighbor’s house is on fire,” he said.

Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Iran’s biggest unrest for nearly a decade which spread to around 80 towns and cities across Iran in early January.

Iranian authorities said 25 people died and over 3,000 people were arrested during the unrest, which lasted for more than a week and then subsided. Most of those arrested have been released but around 300 remain in jail facing charges, Iran’s interior minister said last week.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards put down the protests, which were initially sparked by soaring food prices and high unemployement but then turned political when protesters in several cities called on the clerical rulers to step down.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Antichrist warns against revival of Ba’ath Party

Influential Iraqi Shia cleric warns against revival of Ba’ath Party

Karzan Sulaivany

Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shia cleric in Iraq, gestures during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – An influential Shia cleric in Iraq on Wednesday issued a severe warning to any party trying to bring the former Iraqi regime’s Ba’ath Party back on the political scene during the upcoming elections in May.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist Movement in Iraq, said it was “shameful to be afraid of the return of the Ba’ath Party in the upcoming elections,” sending a warning to any group who attempts to do that.

The Ba’ath Party ruled Iraq for over three decades before being overthrown by an international coalition led by the United States in 2003. The party and its affiliates were later banned from returning to politics in the country.

The party, led by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, was responsible for horrific crimes against the minority population in Iraq, mainly the Kurds in the north.

During his rule, Hussein and his party were accused of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and widespread violations of human rights in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.

“If they come back, we will not have mercy on them,” Sadr affirmed.

Earlier this week, a former Iraqi minister, Baqir Jabr al-Zubeidi, claimed the current US administration under President Donald Trump was seeking to bring the Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq.

“The Trump administration has replaced the Obama administration’s strategy with an alternative plan based on the return of the [Ba’ath Party] to power through the elections,” Zubeidi wrote on Facebook.

Neither the US embassy in Baghdad nor any US State Department official was available for comment regarding the former Iraqi minister’s claim.

Iraq plans to hold general elections on May 12, marking the country’s fourth elections since the fall of the totalitarian regime under the Ba’ath rule.

The Father of the Islamic Nuclear Bomb

The Long Shadow of A.Q. Khan

How One Scientist Helped the World Go Nuclear

January 31, 2018

On February 4, 2004, the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan, then famous for his role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, confessed on live television to having illegally proliferated nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea over the course of decades. Today Khan is enjoying a resurrection at home, where he is again touted as the “Mohsin e-Pakistan,” or the savior of Pakistan. He appears as the guest of honor at official ceremonies, and last year Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology declared him a distinguished alumnus in recognition of his “meritorious services and valuable contributions towards scientific research and its practical application for the productive use for mankind.”

Outside of Pakistan, Khan has largely been forgotten, despite the fact that his fingerprints are all over the world’s most volatile nuclear hot spots. Indeed, three of the United States’ most significant national security challenges—Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan—are largely the results of Khan’s handiwork.

Between the start of Khan’s nuclear black market in the mid-1970s and his forced confession in 2004, the United States and other countries had many opportunities to stop him. Yet each time, policymakers decided that preventing the spread of nuclear weapons was less important than pursuing other foreign policy goals. These decisions haunt U.S. leaders today. Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent makes it impossible for U.S. commanders to force the country to close its safe havens for Afghan extremists. Iran’s nuclear program—though frozen for now—could still lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. And North Korea, which Khan helped turn from a thorn in the world’s side into an unstable nuclear power, now threatens the lives of millions.

How were Khan’s activities allowed to continue for so long? And what lessons might the failures to contain him hold for policymakers today?