The “Zone” of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

North Jersey region among ‘most active’ earthquake zones

Matt Fagan, Staff writer, @fagan_nj

Northern New Jersey, which straddles a significant ancient crack in the Earth’s crust known as the Ramapo Fault, recorded 16 earthquakes last year, an unusually high number for the area.

It had been relatively quiet this year, until geologists recorded a 1.3 magnitude quake last weekend in Morris Plains, and then a 1.0 magnitude quake Saturday in Morristown.

Last weekend’s tremor was reported by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Observatory to the Morris Plains Police Department, which issued an advisory to residents on Monday morning.

Lamont-Doherty spokesman Kevin Krajick said the quake was pinpointed to a shallow depth of 6 kilometers just north of Grannis Avenue, between Mountain and Sun Valley ways, about 500 feet southeast of Mountain way School.

Rutgers Newark geology professor talks about earthquakes in northern New Jersey. Matt Fagan/NorthJersey.com

“It was a very small earthquake at a very shallow depth,” Krajick said. “Most people would not feel an earthquake that small unless they were absolutely right under it, if that.”

“To date (there) were no reported injuries or damage related to the earthquake and no Morris Plains residents reported any activity to this agency,” according to Morris Plains police Chief Jason Kohn

On the other hand, Butler Police Lt. Mike Moeller said his department received “a bunch of calls about it, between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.”

Saturday’s earthquake was so minor that Morristown police said they received no calls from residents

Earthquakes are generally less frequent and less intense in the Northeast compared to the U.S. Pacific Coast, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. But due to geological differences between the regions, earthquakes of similar magnitude affect an area 10 times larger in the Northeast compared to the West Coast.

The 16 tremors recorded in 2016 were minor, generally 1 or 2 magnitude, often misinterpreted as explosions, said Alexander Gates, geology professor at Rutgers University Newark campus.

“A lot of people in Butler felt them over the course of the last year, but a lot of them didn’t know it was an earthquake,” Gates said.

Butler is the borough, but also the name of the fault that sits at the end of aseries of others belonging to the Ramapo Fault, Gates said.

The Ramapo fault, Gates said, is the longest in the Northeast and runs from Pennnsylvania through New Jersey, snaking northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before coming to an end in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant.

The small area, Gates said, is considered the most seismically active region east of the Mississippi based on data gathered since 1974, when seismographs were installed.

“I’d be willing to bet that you’d have to go all the way to Canada and all the way to South Carolina before you’d get one that active,” Gates said of the area which runs from the New York state line in the Ringwood and Mahwah area down to Butler and central Passaic County, Gates said.

Of last year’s 16 earthquakes, 12 were directly associated with the faults around Butler, Gates said.

Butler Councilman Ray Verdonik said area residents are well aware of the frequency of earthquakes and agrees they are often difficult to discern.

During one earthquake, the councilman said he and his neighbors rushed from their homes.

“We thought it was from Picatinny Arsenal or a sonic boom.” he said.

Won-Young Kim, director of the  Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, which  monitors earthquakes in the Northeast, said often very shallow, the low magnitude quakes’ waves cause much ground motion. He said even though the waves don’t travel very far, they can seem more intense than the magnitude suggests.

They may not topple chimneys, he said but can crack foundations and frighten residents.

To put earthquake magnitudes in perspective, experts said each year there are about 900,000 earthquakes of 2.5 magnitude or less recorded annually by seismograph. These mild tremors are usually not felt.

There are 30,000 that measure between 2.5 and 5.4, and these are often felt, but cause minor damage.

About 500 quakes worldwide are recorded between 5.5 and 6 magnitude per year and cause slight damage to buildings and structures.

The 100 that fall within 6.1 and 6.9 may cause lots of damage in populated areas.

The 20 or so which fall within the 7 and 7.9 magnitude per year are considered major and cause serious damage.

Those that measure at 8 or greater can totally destroy communities near the epicenter and average one every five to 10 years.

The earthquake recorded in Mexico last week measured 7.1 magnitude.

Gates said he has identified most of the region’s numerous faults, but has yet to name them all. Among the unnamed include the faults responsible for last year’s quakes in the region.

Earthquakes in this region are intraplate ones, Gates said, meaning they occur within the plates. Earthquakes of this type account for more than 90 percent of the total seismic energy released around the world.

Plates are the masses of the earth’s crust that slowly move, maybe as little as a few centimeters a year to as much 18 centimeters, around the globe. Faults such as the San Andreas are interplate and occur near where two plates meet.

The plate North America rides upon runs from the Mid Atlantic Ridge to the Pacific Coast. The theory is that as plates interact with one another, they create stress within the plate. Faults occur where the crust is weak, Gates said. Earthquakes relieve the built up pressure.

Boston College Geophysics Professor John Ebel said he and a Virginia Tech colleague, believe the seismically active areas in New York and South Carolina are where some 200 million years ago, the plates tried to break off but failed. This led to a weakening of the earth’s crust which makes them susceptible to quakes.

While not predictable, the data collected seem to suggest earthquakes occur somewhat periodically, 40 active years followed by 40 less active, Gates said.

“We are over due for a 3 or 4” magnitude, Gates said. “A 4 you’d feel. It would shake the area. Everybody would be upset.”

Ebel does not fully agree. He said saying “overdue” might be somewhat misleading.  Earthquakes happen through a slow process of rising stress, “like dropping individual grains of sand on the table.”

You never know which grain will cause the table to break, he said.

Still all three experts say statistically it is only a matter time before a magnitude 5 quake is recorded in the northern New Jersey area.

The scientists said quakes in the Northeastern part of the United States tend to come 100 years apart and the last one was recorded in 1884 believed to be centered south of Brooklyn. It toppled chimneys and moved houses from their foundations across the city and as far as Rahway.

Washington D.C. experienced a 5.8 magnitude quake in 2011, which was felt in the Northeast, Gates said. That quake cracked the Washington Monument.

A similar quake was recorded in 1737 in Weehawken, Gates noted.

“Imagine putting a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in Weehawken, New Jersey next to the Bridge, next to the tunnel,” Gates said. “Boy that would be a dangerous one.”

In 2008 Columbia University’s The Earth Institute posted an article titled: “Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study.”

“Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” the article’s co-author John Armbruster wrote. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling.”

The threat though, is not tangible to many, Armbruster wrote.

“There is no one now alive to remember that last one, so people tend to forget. And having only a partial 300-year history, we may not have seen everything we could see. There could be surprises — things bigger than we have ever seen,” Armbruster wrote.

The Earth Institute’s article did note New York City added earthquake-resistant building codes in 1995.

New Jersey also began to require earthquake-resistant standards in the 1990s. The state, following the 2011 Virginia quake, now requires lake communities to make dams able to withstand a magnitude 5 earthquake.

The issue, Gates said, is that many of the buildings were built before these codes went into effect. A “sizable” earthquake could cause much damage.

Then there’s the prediction that every 3,400 years this area can expect a quake at 7 magnitude.

According to the Earth Institute article, a  2001 analysis for Bergen County estimates a magnitude 7 quake would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone.  Likewise, in New York City the damage could easily hit hundreds of billions of dollars.

Ebel noted that depending on the depth and power of a severe quake, damage could be also be wide ranging. In 2011, Washington D.C., 90 miles away from the epicenter, which was located in central Virginia, suffered significant damage.  Cities like Philadelphia fall within that radius.

“The big one could happen tomorrow or 100 years from now. That’s the problem,” Gates said. It geological terms 100 years is just a spit in the ocean, he noted.

Then again North Jersey is more likely to be hit by hurricane in the next three years, Gates added.

Email: Fagan@NorthJersey.com

Staff Writer William Westhoven contributed to this report. 

New Jersey’s top earthquakes

• Dec. 19, 1737 — Weehawken, believed to be a 5-plus magnitude quake, could be very serious if occurred in same spot today.

• Nov. 29, 1783 — Western New Jersey. Geologists are not exactly sure where it happened because area was sparsely populated. Estimated magnitude varies from 4.8 to 5.3. Felt from Pennsylvania to New England.

• Aug. 10, 1884 — A 5.2 earthquake occurred somewhere near Jamaica Bay near Brooklyn. The quake toppled chimneys and moved houses off their foundations as far Rahway.

• The biggest earthquake in the last 45 years of data available form USGS was a 3.8 quake centered in Carneys Point in Salem County on the morning of Feb.28, 1973

• New Jersey has never recorded a fatality due to an earthquake, according to the DEP.

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The Antichrist Consolidates His Power in Iraq

Three prominent Iraqi blocs form coalition to gain largest share in parliament

A new Iraqi coalition that consists of the National Coalition, Sairoon and the National Wisdom Movement was formed, sources told Al-Arabiya.

The new coalition includes more than 100 MPs and aims to establish the largest bloc in parliament.

The agreement to form the coalition was signed by Sairoon led by Muqtada al-Sadr, the National Coalition led by Ayyad Allawi and the National Wisdom Movement led by Ammar al-Hakim at the latter’s headquarters in Baghdad.

This comes in light of the government claiming there were ‘dangerous violations’ in the election process.

On Wednesday, a Sadrist Movement spokesperson commented on the parliament’s vote in favor of amending the election law and said the parliament and the cabinet are responsible for the money paid for the electronic vote count, adding that the law which the parliament legislated for this is in violation of the constitution.

“We admit that some (results) were manipulated in some provinces and this must be addressed according to the electoral law in force. There is a judicial committee looking into appeals and complaints. The legislative and executive authorities have dominated by cancelling the judicial authority in the country,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the number of seats that the Sairoon bloc won will not change even if the votes are counted manually.

Last Update: Friday, 8 June 2018 KSA 09:41 – GMT 06:41

Israel Continues Fighting Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Israel warns Gazans to avoid border in Friday protest

Arab News

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military says it has dropped leaflets across the Gaza Strip, warning residents to stay far from the Israeli border during a mass protest planned Friday.

Military officials are expecting a large turnout, raising the likelihood of bloodshed.

Over 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during near-weekly demonstrations fueled in large part by an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade.

Israel has come under heavy international criticism for its use of live fire against unarmed protesters. Israel accuses the Hamas militant group of using the protests as cover to carry out attacks.

“For your own benefit, it is better that you not participate in the violent riots at the fence, not attempt to breach it, and not permit Hamas to turn you into a tool,” the leaflet says.

Iran Nuclear Horn Shows off Centrifuges (Daniel 8:4)

With nuclear deal under threat, Iran shows off centrifuges

The Associated Press

The star of a live television interview in Iran’s new nuclear workshop wasn’t the head of the country’s atomic agency, but three centrifuges labeled in English in the background, advanced devices Tehran is prohibited from using by the nuclear deal with world powers.

The placement of the centrifuges, identified as IR-2M, IR-4 and IR-6, may have served as a subtle warning to Europe as it tries to salvage the atomic accord after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it and restore U.S. sanctions.

In recent days Iranian officials from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on down have vowed to boost the country’s uranium enrichment capacity. The moves they have outlined would not violate the 2015 nuclear accord, but would allow Iran to quickly ramp up enrichment if the agreement unravels.

“I think they’ve been quite clear in saying that if the U.S. pulls out and the EU doesn’t live up to its side of the deal, it will rapidly increase its enrichment capacity,” said Ian Stewart, the head of a nuclear proliferation study called Project Alpha at King’s College London. “It doesn’t mean that it would go for nuclear weapons, but it does mean they could rapidly do that if they chose to do so.”

Under the nuclear deal with world powers, Iran accepted limits to its uranium enrichment and gave up its stockpiles in exchange for the lifting of crippling international sanctions. Western nations and Israel have long suspected Iran of covertly seeking a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian program. Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes like electricity and the production of medical isotopes.

In the 2015 agreement, Iran agreed only to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent, enough to use in a nuclear power plant but far lower than the 90 percent needed for an atomic weapon.

Iran also mothballed much of its centrifuges, the devices it uses to enrich uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas. Today at Natanz, its main enrichment facility, Iran can run only 5,060 of them. Those centrifuges are models known as IR-1s, based on a 1970s Dutch design that Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan used to build Islamabad’s nuclear weapons program and later sold to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

The IR-2M, IR-4 and IR-6 models are all believed to produce three to five times more enriched uranium in a year than the IR-1s, according to Western anti-proliferation experts.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, said Wednesday night that the IR-6 is 10 times more effective than the IR-1.

During the live state television interview at Natanz, a nuclear facility with underground bunkers protected from airstrikes, Salehi said a new workshop there that was nearly ready to open could build 60 centrifuges a day. He said it could build all three of the displayed models.

It wasn’t clear whether the centrifuges displayed were working models of the IR-2M, IR-4 and IR-6, though they resembled pictures of the three previously circulated by Iranian media.

“The IR-2M and the IR-4 have passed the research and development period and we can mass produce them, but due to the (nuclear deal), we don’t do it yet,” Salehi said. He said the IR-6 had some faults but could be mass produced after solving them.

Not on display was the IR-8, one of Iran’s most advanced prototypes, which Western experts believe is at least 16 times more effective than the IR-1. A 2016 report by Iran’s pro-reformist Arman newspaper described the IR-8 as 24 times more effective.

Salehi said the IR-8 was too big to be produced in the new workshop, though another workshop could be built nearby for it. He said that model remained years from mass production.

For now, Iran remains within the terms of the nuclear deal. But if it falls apart, nothing would prevent Iran from immediately using these advanced centrifuges — and potentially raising the risks of a confrontation with the West.

“If you have a smaller number of very advanced centrifuges, it’s easier for you to enrich in a secret location,” Stewart said.

———

Associated Press writer Mehdi Fattahi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Trump and the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Trump reportedly requested Saudi oil support before Iran nuclear decision

Reuters

A day before U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, one of his senior officials phoned Saudi Arabia to ask the world’s largest oil exporter to help keep prices stable if the decision disrupted supply.

Riyadh, Tehran’s arch rival, has long been a close Washington ally, but direct pressure on a member of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) over oil policies is rare. Washington last pressed Saudi Arabia to increase output in 2012.

Riyadh has said that even though prices have spiked to over $80 per barrel, the highest since 2014, the market has yet to recover from a long slump. Until the phone call, Saudi officials had been saying it was too early to raise output.

Riyadh took this line partly because higher crude prices could help the stock market float of a stake in state oil giant Saudi Aramco expected to take place in 2019, Saudi industry sources had told Reuters.

So there was shock among some of Saudi Arabia’s fellow OPEC members when it issued a supportive statement hours after Washington imposed new sanctions on Tehran. It said it was ready to raise output to offset any supply shortage.

Three sources familiar with the matter said a senior U.S. administration official had called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before Trump’s announcement to make sure Washington could count on Riyadh, the de facto OPEC leader.

One of the sources said the call took place on May 7. The other two did not specify a date for the call.

Washington was worried that the sanctions would curb deliveries from Iran and push oil prices up, the sources said.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment on whether a call took place.

A senior Saudi official did not confirm the call but said: “We were made aware of the decision on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) before the announcement…We always have conversations with the U.S. about the stability of the oil market.”

The Saudi statement in May threatened to undermine a deal between OPEC and its allies led by Russia to curb output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), starting from January 2017, to reduce a supply glut and boost prices. The deal is due to expire at the end of 2018.

OPEC will meet on June 22 and needs a consensus of all members to officially change its output policy. Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said last week he did not agree on the potential need to increase global oil supplies.

An OPEC source familiar with Saudi thinking said that Riyadh and Washington had discussed their oil policies before the U.S. announcement on Iran.

“You need to work with your partners in dealing with any potential effect on supply,” that OPEC source said.

Allies ‘upset’

The sudden shift in Riyadh’s public position came as a surprise to its Gulf allies, who coordinate OPEC policies closely.

Some Gulf countries were “upset that there was no prior consultation with them”, a separate source said. They felt Riyadh had come under pressure from Washington and they had not been consulted before public comments by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.

Falih traveled to Russia’s economic forum in St Petersburg last month and said the kingdom was prepared to gradually ease oil output curbs to calm consumers’ worries.

The shift has also irked some producers outside the Gulf.

“Some people felt they were not properly consulted before the comments in St. Petersburg,” a second OPEC source said.

Since the original international sanctions were lifted in January 2016, Iran has struggled to raise production above 4 million barrels per day. This is due to a lack of new projects.

Iran would benefit less than Saudi Arabia from an increase in supplies if it cannot raise output, as well as receive a lower price for existing production.

A third OPEC source said it would be against the OPEC charter to raise output just because Washington had requested it. “For some OPEC members, this is too much,” the source said.

More pressure

U.S. reliance on Saudi crude imports has decreased in recent years, in part as domestic shale output has risen, but Saudi Arabia remains an important source of U.S. supply.

The U.S. imported 748,000 bpd from Saudi Arabia in March 2018, having reached a post-1970s peak of more than 2 million bpd during 2003, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Reuters reported in late May that OPEC and its allies could raise production by about 1 million bpd from July to address any potential oil shortages.

The sources say Riyadh’s shift in stance was prompted by pressure by Washington and other consuming countries but does not reflect concern in Saudi Arabia that there is a supply deficit.

In late April, Trump in a tweet criticized OPEC for high oil prices. India and China also raised concerns about high oil prices in separate calls with Falih.

“The thinking before was to continue with the OPEC deal until the end of the year,” a fourth OPEC source said. “But then Trump and the Iran nuclear deal happened and consuming nations started to complain. Consumers are very important for us.”