Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”

That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.

His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

More Shot Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

One Palestinian killed, six injured at eastern borders of Gaza

News Code : 922643

One Palestinian was killed and at least six others were injured as Israeli forces suppressed the weekly Great March of Return protests at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): One Palestinian was killed and at least six others were injured as Israeli forces suppressed the weekly Great March of Return protests at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday.

Spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, said that Karam Muhammad Fayyad, 26, from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, was succumbed Friday evening to wounds he sustained during protests.

Israeli forces used live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets to suppress protesters who had gathered at return camps at the eastern borders of Gaza.

One journalist, a paramedic and a child were among those injured.

„The Great March of Return“ protests were launched on March 30th by thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza — which has suffered from a decade-long Israeli siege — who took to the borders to demand their right of return as refugees to their original homelands, now in present-day Israel.

Russia Prepares for World War 3

World War 3 fears EXPLODE as Russia tests new NUCLEAR bomber for first time

James Bickerton

| UPDATED: 13:39, Sat, Dec 29, 2018

FEARS of conflict between major world powers surged after Russia tested a newly ungraded supersonic long-range bomber, which is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Russia building Caribbean military base is ‚unsafe‘ warns adviser

On Friday the Tupolev Tu-22M3M supersonic bomber flew for the first time. The aircraft can reportedly hit targets as far as 2,200km away (1,367 miles). Russia is modernising its armed forces as part of a programme overseen by President Vladimir Putin.

Quoting a defence source the Russian state-run Tass News Agency reported: “The first upgraded Tu-22M3M made the debut flight from the airfield of the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise on Friday.

“The flight started the missile-carrying bomber’s flight tests.

“There were no weapons about the aircraft, and the flight was brief.”

The aircraft was reportedly in the air for 37 minutes reaching 4,920 feet in height.

The aircraft was reportedly in the air for 37 minutes reaching 4,920 feet in height (Image: GETTY )

The Tu-22M3M takes off for its first test flight (Image: SPUTNIK )

The Tu-22M3M, the latest in a long line of TU-22 bombers, was first unveiled in August.

In 1962, the original TU-22 was launched as the Soviet Union’s first long ranged bomber.

Another modified version of the aircraft, the Tu-22M3, has been active in Syria.

Aircraft manufacturer Tupolev commented: “The first prototype Tu-22M3M aircraft was created as part of a large-scale modernisation programme.

The Tupolev Tu-22M3M was first unveiled in August (Image: GETTY )

“The next stage of the programme is the modernisation of the first batch of Tu-22M3 combat aircraft.”

Russia has been undertaking a major modernisation of its military over the past few years, overseen personally by President Vladimir Putin.

The US claims Russia violated the Intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty (INF) by developing a surface-to-air missile which exceed its maximum allowed range.

In response, America is threatening to withdraw from the INF, in a move which could trigger a new global arms race.

Israeli Army Strikes Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

FILE Photo: The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting a rocket in southern Israel. Ilan Asayag

Israeli Army Strikes Hamas Target After Rocket Launched From Gaza Strip

No casualties or damage have been reported in what is the first flare-up along the border in over a month and a half

Almog Ben Zikri

29.12.2018 |

An Israel Defense Force helicopter struck a Hamas target in southern Gaza late Friday night after a rocket was launched from the Strip into Israel, the IDF said in an official statement.  

The rocket launched from Gaza fell in an open area and no casualties or damages were reported in Israel’s southern communities. 

Earlier Friday a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed and four others were wounded by Israeli military fire during weekly protests in Gaza. 

According to Gaza authorities, Karam Fayyad was shot during a demonstration east of Khan Yunis. He was rushed to hospital in critical state, but was later pronounced dead. 

Last week, four Palestinians were killed in protests at the Gaza border, including one who succumbed to his wounds on Saturday. 

Since the Gaza border protests began in March, around 240 Palestinians died in confrontations with the Israeli military, according to Gaza authorities. 

This is the first incident of rocket fire since over a month and a half ago when some 460 rockets and missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel. The IDF retaliated by attacking more than 160 targets including buildings belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, killing a total of seven in the Gaza Strip

Antichrist calls for evacuation of US troops

US Marines seen during a training excercise with the Royal Army of Oman (not seen) at Senoor Beach, Oman, on February 15, 2017 [Gunnery Sgt. Robert B. Brown Jr. / US Marine Corps]

Iraq parliament calls for evacuation of US troops

December 29, 2018 at 10:53 am

Iraqi MPs have condemned the surprise visit of US President Donald Trump to American troops stationed in the country, calling for them to leave.

MPs from the two largest parliamentarian blocs condemned Trump’s visit, which was not arranged with the Iraqi government, considering it a “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”. They also set a date to discuss the evacuation of US troops from Iraq, Arab48 reported yesterday.

Saleh Al-Saadi, head of one of these blocs, said that “Trump has to know his limits. The American occupation of Iraq has ended,” adding: “Trump infiltrated Iraq as if it is one of the American states.”

During his visit on Wednesday, Trump spent three hours inside a US military base without speaking to any Iraqi officials, talking only with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi on the phone. Trump stressed that he did not have any plans to withdraw the 5,200 US troops stationed in the country.

This topic has been hotly debated since May, when supporters of Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr won the largest number of seats in the Iraqi parliament. Al-Sadr has called for the withdrawal of US troops from the country, as well as for limiting Iran’s role in Iraq’s internal affairs. Other Iraqi politicians also began calling for the evacuation of US troops after the defeat of Daesh.

American forces invaded Iraq in 2003, toppling its President Saddam Hussein and since supporting the Shia sect in the country. Though US forces left in 2011, they returned in 2014 at the request of the country’s then pro-US government in order to fight Daesh.

Antichrist Lashes Out at Iraqi Government over Trump Visit

President Donald Trump speaks at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq…

Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa

Sadr Lashes Out at Iraqi Government over Trump Visit

Saturday, 29 December, 2018 – 07:45 –

Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr launched a scathing attack on the Iraqi government Friday after US President Donald Trump kept his visit to al-Asad Air Base in Anbar province secret.

In a statement, the cleric regretted that the Iraqi government and its politicians have yielded to such practices.

Sadr’s statement was a clear sign of differences between Iraqi blocs and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Several members of the Fatah bloc described the Prime Minister’s position as “courageous” for refusing to meet Trump at al-Asad Base and insisting that the two men should sit together in Baghdad.

However, Sadr described the behavior of the Iraqi government and politicians as “subservience” to US policies.

An informed Iraqi politician said Trump’s visit to Iraq does not express a unified national position.

“Some politicians are trying to settle scores with the US, others just decided to ride the wave, while the rest try to please foreign parties by taking hostile positions from Washington,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The political source said “Sunnis believe they still need the US, although some of them have joined blocs with close ties to Iran.”

While Iraqi Shiite parties had a unified position regarding Trump’s visit to Iraq, Kurdish and Sunni forces kept silence.

Trump and First Lady Melania surprised troops at al-Asad base for his first trip to a war zone as president. However, he did not visit Baghdad and did not meet with any Iraqi official.

Following Trump’s visit, some politicians from Iraq’s Parliament called for a vote to expel US troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.

Political science professor at Baghdad University Khaled Abdelilah told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Sunnis and Kurds have no tense relations with the US.

“There are old demands that call on Parliament to decide on the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country. This proves that Iraqi politics is still fragile, and that the country lacks a unified foreign policy,” Abdelilah said.