Earthquake Assessment For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquake Risk in New Jersey

by Daniel R. Dombroski, Jr.

A 10–fold increase in amplitude represents about a 32–fold increase in energy released for the same duration of shaking. The best known magnitude scale is one designed by C.F. Richter in 1935 for west coast earthquakes.

An earthquake’s intensity is determined by observing its effects at a particular place on the Earth’s surface. Intensity depends on the earthquake’s magnitude, the distance from the epicenter, and local geology. These scales are based on reports of people awakening, felt movements, sounds, and visible effects on structures and landscapes. The most commonly used scale in the United States is the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and its values are usually reported in Roman numerals to distinguish them from magnitudes.

Past damage in New Jersey

New Jersey doesn’t get many earthquakes, but it does get some. Fortunately most are small. A few New Jersey earthquakes, as well as a few originating outside the state, have produced enough damage to warrant the concern of planners and emergency managers.

Damage in New Jersey from earthquakes has been minor: items knocked off shelves, cracked plaster and masonry, and fallen chimneys. Perhaps because no one was standing under a chimney when it fell, there are no recorded earthquake–related deaths in New Jersey. We will probably not be so fortunate in the future.

Area Affected by Eastern Earthquakes

Although the United States east of the Rocky Mountains has fewer and generally smaller earthquakes than the West, at least two factors  increase the earthquake risk in New Jersey and the East. Due to geologic differences, eastern earthquakes effect areas ten times larger than western ones of the same magnitude. Also, the eastern United States is more densely populated, and New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.

Geologic Faults and Earthquakes in New Jersey

Although there are many faults in New Jersey, the Ramapo Fault, which separates the Piedmont and Highlands Physiographic Provinces, is the best known. In 1884 it was blamed for a damaging New York City earthquake simply because it was the only large fault mapped at the time. Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault.

More recently, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to the Indian Point, New York, Nuclear Power Generating Station. East of the Rocky Mountains (including New Jersey), earthquakes do not break the ground surface. Their focuses lie at least a few miles below the Earth’s surface, and their locations are determined by interpreting seismographic records. Geologic fault lines seen on the surface today are evidence of ancient events. The presence or absence of mapped faults (fault lines) does not denote either a seismic hazard or the lack of one, and earthquakes can occur anywhere in New Jersey.

Frequency of Damaging Earthquakes in New Jersey

Records for the New York City area, which have been kept for 300 years, provide good information

for estimating the frequency of earthquakes in New Jersey.

Earthquakes with a maximum intensity of VII (see table DamagingEarthquakes Felt in New Jersey )have occurred in the New York City area in 1737, 1783, and 1884. One intensity VI, four intensity V’s, and at least three intensity III shocks have also occurred in the New York area over the last 300 years.

Buildings and Earthquakes

The 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, is an example of what might happen in New Jersey in a similar quake. It registered a magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale and produced widespread destruction. But it was the age of construction, soil and foundation condition, proximity to the fault, and type of structure that were the major determining factors in the performance of each building. Newer structures, built to the latest construction standards, appeared to perform relatively well, generally ensuring the life safety of occupants.

Structures have collapsed in New Jersey without earthquakes; an earthquake would trigger many more. Building and housing codes need to be updated and strictly enforced to properly prepare for inevitable future earthquakes.

China Enables the Pakistani Nuclear Horn

China Acknowledges Sale Of Advanced Missile Technology To Pakistan

Scott NeumanMarch 22, 20185:49 AM ET

Pakistan test fires its new Ababeel surface-to-surface ballistic missile in Pakistan on Jan. 24, 2017. Ababeel has a maximum range of 1,350 miles and is capable of delivering multiple warheads using multiple independent re-entry vehicle technology, according to Pakistani sources.

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Updated at 6:40 a.m. ET

China has sold Pakistan an advanced tracking system that could boost Islamabad’s efforts to improve ballistic missiles capable of delivering multiple warheads, according to The South China Morning Post.

The website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the deal with Pakistan, and Zheng Mengwei, a researcher with the CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics, confirmed to the Post that the purchase was of a “highly sophisticated large-scale optical tracking and measurement system.”

The newspaper writes:

“An optical system is a critical component in missile testing. It usually comes with a pair of high-performance telescopes equipped with a laser ranger, high-speed camera, infrared detector and a centralised computer system that automatically captures and follows moving targets.

The device records high-resolution images of a missile’s departure from its launcher, stage separation, tail flame and, after the missile re-enters atmosphere, the trajectory of the warheads it releases.”

The CAS said a Chinese team spent three months in Pakistan helping calibrate the system. “The system’s performance surpassed the user’s expectations,” it said, adding that it was considerably more complex than Pakistan’s home-made systems, the newspaper said.

Although ostensibly for missile testing, it is similar to technology deployed in ballistic missile defense systems.

Rival India has been working on a missile defense system, which it claims to have successfully tested late last year. Meanwhile, Pakistan has concentrated on a possible countermeasure. In January 2017, it tested a missile that reportedly can deliver multiple warheads, known as MIRVs, which can greatly increase the number of incoming targets, possibly overwhelming missile defense systems.

Pakistan, after its first successful launch of the MIRV-capable missile, known as Ababeel, said in a statement that it is “aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.”

India and Pakistan have been locked in a nuclear arms race since the two countries openly conducted nuclear weapons tests within days of one another in May 1998. Since that time, their respective rocket and missile programs have also proceeded swiftly, frequently raising tensions in the South Asian region.

On Thursday, India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the successful launch of a supersonic cruise missile, the BrahMos, jointly developed by India and Russia. One version is an anti-ship missile, and the army also has fielded its own variant. India is working on yet another version that could be launched from a Sukoi Su-30 fighter jet.

China, which also views India as a regional rival, has long been recognized as the covert benefactor of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, providing technical know-how and expertise.

Last year, Pakistan deployed a Chinese-made low-to-medium altitude air defense system (LOMAD).

But the latest public statement by Beijing of a deal with Islamabad for such sensitive technology is rare — and possibly meant as a signal to New Delhi, with whom it has had recent border tensions, and possibly the U.S., which has increasingly tilted toward India in recent decades, especially amid what is viewed as Pakistan’s tepid commitment to shutting down Islamic extremism.

In January, President Trump tweeted that Pakistan had given the U.S. “nothing but lies [and] deceit” in exchange for billions of dollars in foreign aid.

US Ready to Abandon Iran Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters and local politicians at an event at Manchester Community College on March 19, 2018 in Manchester, New Hampshire. US prepares to leave Iran deal, even as talks with Europe continue

CNN By Nicole Gaouette and Elise Labott, CNN
 © Spencer Platt/Getty Images U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters and local politicians at an event at Manchester Community College on March 19, 2018 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
US officials are taking a two-track approach to the Iran nuclear deal, negotiating with allies to make changes demanded by President Donald Trump even as they prepare to walk away from the international agreement.Trump set a May 12 deadline — the next date by which he has to waive sanctions against Iran or leave the deal — for the US and its European allies to agree on changes to address what he sees as its flaws.The President’s thinking, officials say, is that if the US and Europe are united on amending the deal, the other signatories — Russia and China — will come along, and Iran will have no choice but to comply.Critics argue that leaving the deal would damage relations with European allies, harm US national security interests — in part by reducing the US’ ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities — and send a clear message to North Korea that the US can’t be trusted to honor nuclear agreements.

A ‘terrible’ deal

European allies say they will not consider changes to the agreement but the gulf between the allies and the US is vast. With the President himself dismissing the deal as “terrible,” and the impending move of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, an Iran hawk, to the State Department, many officials in the US and Europe are bracing for Washington to abandon the agreement.

Against that backdrop, US officials leading the negotiations with European allies say that at the same time, they are readying contingency plans should Trump decide to pull the US out.

“We always have to prepare for any eventuality. We are engaged in contingency planning. …. We’re kind of dual tracking this,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning, who is leading talks with the Europeans.

The Treasury Department, meanwhile, is preparing for the possibility that it may have to “snap back” sanctions that were repealed by the Obama administration after the deal, formally known as the Joint Commission Plan of Action, was signed.

Hook met with European allies in Berlin last week to continue discussions before going to Vienna, Austria, on Friday for a regular meeting with all parties to the agreement.

Asked whether he was confident about reaching an agreement with the Europeans, Hook said Wednesday that, “we have had constructive talks with the Europeans … but I can’t predict if we will reach a deal or not.”

“We have a goal in mind, and we will either reach agreement or we won’t,” Hook said. He admitted that Iran is “in technical compliance to their commitments” under the deal.

Hook declined to comment on how Pompeo’s transfer would affect prospects for the Iran deal, but said he expected the former congressman from Kansas to make an easy transition. “A number of us are providing assistance to Secretary-designate Pompeo’s confirmation process,” Hook said. “He’s got such a deep familiarity with so many of these issues that it will be a very easy transition.”

Trump wants the Iran pact amended with a supplemental agreement that would end so-called “sunset clauses”provisions that wind down after a few years — intensify the inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites and add measures covering Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Separately, Trump also wants allies to take more steps to address Tehran’s presence in Lebanon, its backing for Hezbollah, cyberattacks and “maritime aggression,” as well as the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the US says is behind much of the Mideast’s destabilization.

“I have outlined two possible paths forward: Either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw,” Trump said on January 12, the last time he waived sanctions. At the time, the President said he was waiving sanctions only to give Europeans time to come to an agreement with the US.

“This is a last chance,” Trump said. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”

Lawmakers say they think Trump will walk away. “I think the President likely will move away from it, unless my, our European counterparts really come together on a framework,” Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, said March 18 on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “And it doesn’t feel to me that they are.”

Indeed, European officials say that while they’re happy to discuss measures to pressure Iran on its activities in the Mideast, they aren’t willing to consider a supplemental to the nuclear deal. And Iran refuses to discuss reopening the negotiations, which took years to complete.

A source familiar with the US-European negotiations told CNN there has been “good progress” on missile and inspection issues, but a key sticking point remains the US demand to eliminate sunset clauses. The source said the White House doesn’t believe that a withdrawal from the deal is inevitable, but is “increasingly likely.”

‘It will send a message’

Hook said Wednesday that in the context of nonproliferation agreements or treaties, it’s “very common to add supplemental agreements,” though he noted that the nuclear pact is not a treaty, but simply a political agreement.

“It’s sui generis nonproliferation plan of action that’s a political document,” Hook said. “And this is an agreement that has many deficiencies. We think that these deficiencies are of such threats to national security that we can’t allow the deal to remain in place without a supplemental agreement to address its deficiencies. And so that’s our focus there.”

Hook also sidestepped a question about whether leaving the Iran nuclear deal would send a message to North Korea that the US can’t be trusted. “No one has negotiated in more bad faith than North Korea. They have a history of noncompliance,” Hook said.

Military leaders have been clear about the strategic downsides of leaving the pact.

Asked about the message North Korea could draw if Trump abrogates the Iran deal, Gen. John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that, “any action the United States takes sends a message around the planet, so it will send a message to North Korea, it will send a message to Russia, China, our allies, Iran, Saudi Arabia, everybody is impacted.”

Close US allies have been critical of the deal as it’s structured. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Tuesday that it’s a “flawed agreement” and warned that because Iran is able to continue its nuclear research, there’s a chance that when the deal expires, it will be able to enrich enough uranium for a bomb “within weeks.”

That said, al-Jubeir told reporters in Washington this week that if the changes Trump is asking for can be made, Saudi Arabia would be able to support the deal.

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report from Washington

White House Prepares to Axe Iran Deal with Bolton

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has been chosen by President Trump as his next national security adviser.

Alex Brandon/AP

Updated at 8:08 p.m. ET

President Trump has chosen John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, to be his next national security adviser.

The appointment comes just as those two foreign policy challenges come to a head.

Bolton replaces H.R. McMaster, who Trump said Thursday via Twitter is leaving the administration. Bolton takes over from McMaster effective April 9, the president also said.

In an interview on Fox News, where he had been a contributor, shortly after the news broke, Bolton called his appointment a “great honor” but seemed surprised that the Trump administration had announced the appointment so soon. Bolton was spotted earlier Thursday at the White House.

“It’s always an honor to serve our country, and I think, particularly, in these times, internationally, it’s a particular honor,” Bolton said.

But when pressed by host Martha MacCallum about his foreign policy views on a variety of pressing topics, from the Iran nuclear deal to North Korea, Bolton repeatedly deflected.

Bolton did say he was “outraged” by a leak earlier this week that apparently came from someone at the National Security Council. According to the Washington Post, despite an all-caps warning in Trump’s security briefings not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his electoral victory last weekend, the president did so anyway.

Bolton also argued that Trump’s decision to congratulate Putin “wasn’t a significant point one way or the other.”

“I’ve said ‘congratulations’ to a lot of people — foreign diplomats and officials. It’s a matter of being polite,” Bolton said.

Trump has accepted an invitation to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as early as May. He also has to weigh in on the Iran nuclear deal again that month. Bolton has been an advocate for regime change in both countries and, as a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, he wrote that President Trump should “abrogate the Iran nuclear deal in his first days in office.”

Instead, Trump has kept up the U.S. side of the bargain, continuing sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program. He is warning he could walk away from it in May unless diplomats fix parts of the deal he doesn’t like by then.

“No fix will remedy the diplomatic Waterloo Mr. Obama negotiated,” Bolton wrote in the Wall Street Journal in January. “Mr. Trump correctly sees Mr. Obama’s deal as a massive strategic blunder, but his advisers have inexplicably persuaded him not to withdraw,” he added.

When it comes to his hawkish views on Iran, Bolton is more in line with the newly nominated secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who still has to be confirmed for the job. The national security adviser doesn’t need to go through that confirmation process, which may have been difficult for Bolton. He is the third man to hold the job for the Trump administration, following McMaster and before that Michael Flynn.

Also on Fox News Thursday, Bolton described the job he was about to undertake as having two primary facets. The first, he said, was that of being an “honest broker” to the president — “making sure that the president has the full range of options presented to him to make the decision that only the president can make,” which is “presented in a way that gives the president a chance to weigh the pluses and minuses.”

The second part of that job, Bolton said, was to be a conduit between the White House and other agencies and offices tasked with implementing the president’s decisions, “making sure that the bureaucracies out there get the decision and implement it.”

Bolton said that hasn’t always been a smooth process, but that “the rest of the bureaucracy needs to understand as well that when the guy that got elected makes a decision, that’s what the Constitution provides.”

The new national security adviser-designate also said he believed there should be a “free interchange of ideas among the president’s advisers,” otherwise “the president is not well-served.”

Bolton served as undersecretary of state for arms control and United Nations ambassador during the George W. Bush administration and was an advocate for the Iraq War. He stepped down as ambassador in 2006 after holding the job on a temporary basis and facing a challenging path to confirmation in the Senate.

He advocates a sort of “drain the swamp” agenda when it comes to international organizations, calling, for instance, to move from “assessed funding” to “voluntary funding” at the United Nations. He once famously said that if the U.N. Secretariat building lost 10 stories, “it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”

Bolton rose to prominence as a lawyer for the Bush administration during the Florida recount and was well-known at the State Department’s headquarters at Foggy Bottom for his lawyerly arguments and hard-line approach.

Democrats were quick to point out Bolton’s controversial past. House intelligence committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., suggested in a tweet that McMaster’s departure and Bolton’s appointment would put “our nation’s security at risk.”

New York Rumble Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

BUR20141117 EarthQuake HazardMap1.jpg

New York earthquake felt in Vermont

Nicole Higgins DeSmet and Joel Banner Baird, Burlington Free Press
Free Press editor Emilie Stigliani and reporter Joel Banner Baird discuss the morning’s top headlines. EMILIE STIGLIANI, JOEL BANNER BAIRD, ABIGAIL SILIN/FREE PRESS

Early Wednesday, an earthquake struck an upstate New York town, located about 60 miles as the crow flies from Burlington, Vermont.

The earthquake, which registered at a 2.7 magnitude, struck near Malone, New York, at 5 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Magnitudes 2.5 to 3 are the smallest generally felt by people.

Malone is in Franklin County, New York, a short distance from the Canadian border crossing at Cornwall.

Vermonters have felt quakes originating in Canada and as far away as Virginia, likely due to the bedrock beneath much of the eastern part of the continent. Vermont State Geologist Lawrence Becker said in a 2014 interview that the composition of the ground was a superb medium for transmitting shock waves over long distances.

New England, according to the Vermont Geological Survey, sits on relatively stable bedrock. But, Beck said in most of Chittenden County the ground composition is made up of Loosely packed rock and soil which can translate a medium-sized quiver in the bedrock into side-to-side (lateral) heaving on the surface.

Did you feel the earthquake? Let the Free Press know by writing to us at

Our shaky history

Eons ago, the bedrock beneath New England was hammered by continental collisions. In more recent centuries, less-severe (but still notable) earthquakes have rattled the region’s human settlers:

  • 1638: A “violent” quake, probably centered in the St. Lawrence Valley, felt throughout New England.
  • 1755: Vermonters felt a quake centered east of Cape Ann, Mass.
  • 1867: An early morning earthquake woke folks in Burlington, as well as Syracuse, N.Y., and Hamilton, Ontario.
  • 1904: A quake centered in southeastern Maine was felt throughout New England and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Chimneys damaged at Calais and Eastport, Maine, and St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
  • 1929: A magnitude 7.2 shock in the Grand Banks of the Atlantic Ocean severed 12 submarine cables and cracked plaster in Hartford.
  • 1935: A magnitude 6.25 quake near Timiskaming, Quebec. Witnesses in Vermont reported shaking beds, rattling windows and dishes.
  • 1940: Estimated at magnitude 5.8, a quake near Lake Ossipee, N.H., displaced bricks on old chimneys in Bloomfield, Vt.
  • 1952: Near Burlington, a local quake estimated at magnitude 6.0 cracked pavement, basement walls and a city gas main. Ground cracks observed in the North End.
  • 1955: Another quake centered in Burlington, at magnitude 5.0. A new ground crack documented in North End.
  • 1962: A western Vermont quake on April 10 (magnitude 5.0) thoroughly shook the Vermont Statehouse, dislodging a support beam, weakening two beams and cracking 20 window panes.
  • 1973: Shock from a magnitude 5.2 earthquake centered in western Maine was felt throughout New England and eastern Quebec. Residents in Canaan and Montpelier reported cracked plaster, chimneys separating from walls and road fractures.
  • 2002: A moderately powerful earthquake (magnitude 5.1) centered in the Adirondack foothills 15 miles southwest of Plattsburgh, N.Y., shook Vermont and upstate New York at 6:50 a.m. April 20. Among the damages: The temblor severely damaged an attic beam in the old North Hero Town Hall and cracked a chimney at Champlain College’s Hill Hall in Burlington.
  • 2010: A magnitude 5.0 quake with an epicenter located on the Quebec-Ontario border rocked Vermont at 1:45 p.m. June 24, and could be felt as far away as Cleveland.
  • 2011: A 5.8 magnitude quake originating near Mineral, Va., in the early afternoon Aug. 23 was keenly felt by thousands of Vermonters.
  • 2013: Northern Vermont experienced a mild earthquake at about 9:45 a.m. May 17. The quake originated near Ottawa, Canada, and measured magnitude 5.2. An aftershock, magnitude 4.1, took place about 10 minutes later.
  • 2016: The Starksboro area was shaken — very slightly — by a magnitude 1.8 earthquake on Christmas morning,
  • 2017: Northern Vermont experienced a mild earthquake at about 9:45 a.m. May 17. The quake originated near Ottawa, Canada, and measured magnitude 5.2. An aftershock, magnitude 4.1, took place about 10 minutes later.

Source: Vermont Geological Survey