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

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults 

 Map depicting the extent of the Ramapo Fault System in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region, but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.

There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.

A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone, which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.

Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

China Tests the Mother of all Bombs

‘Mother of all bombs’: China tests its most powerful non-nuclear weapon

The bomb, whose strength is only second to that of a nuclear weapons was airdropped by an H-6K bomber

Web DeskJanuary 5, 2019

BEIJING – China has tested its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, dubbed the “Mother Of All Bombs” by official media in a reference to a US munition used in Afghanistan.

China’s defence industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased the aerial bomb in public, the country’s largest non-nuclear bomb, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

The massive bomb drops on to a plain and produces a gigantic ball of fire and black smoke.

The bomb whose strength is only second to that of a nuclear weapon was airdropped by an H-6K bomber and caused a gigantic explosion, showed a promotional video released by China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) on its website at the end of December.

It is dubbed as the Chinese version of the “Mother of All Bombs” due to its huge destructive potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons, the daily said.

Last year, while waging war against militants in Afghanistan, the US military dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon, more commonly known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” on the Islamic State.

Although China is using the same nickname for its bomb, said to weigh several tonnes, the Chinese weapon is smaller and lighter than its American counterpart.

Judging from the video and the size of the H-6K’s bomb bay, the bomb is approximately five to six meters long, Beijing-based military analyst Wei Dongxu told the Global Times on Thursday.

“The massive blast can easily and completely wipe out fortified ground targets such as reinforced buildings, bastions and defence shelters,” Wei said.

It can also be used to clear a landing zone for troops on helicopters to rappel down, in case the area is covered by obstacles such as forests, Wei noted.

Wei said that the Chinese bomb is smaller and lighter than the US one, enabling it to be deployed on the H-6K bomber.

To match the US weapon, Russia developed the “Father of All Bombs” which is both bigger and thermobaric, meaning it uses gas to create a huge fireball rather than a shockwave.

A Time of Peace, A Time of War (Ecclesiastes)

Nuclear arms: A year of living dangerously

CANBERRA –Last January, the Doomsday Clock was moved to two minutes to midnight — the closest it has ever been, matching the acute sense of crisis of 1953. The primary explanation for the heightened threat alert was disturbing developments in the nuclear realm.

There was little improvement during 2018. There is no sign that New START, which regulates U.S. and Russian strategic force numbers and deployments, might be extended by five years to 2026. China is upgrading its considerably smaller nuclear arsenal. India and Pakistan are enlarging, modernizing and upgrading stockpiles, while investing in battlefield tactical nuclear weapons (Pakistan) and systems to counter them (India).

U.S. President Donald Trump’s disdain for international institutions and rules established him as the disrupter in chief of the global nuclear order. U.S. nuclear policies reflect and fuel the fraying regimes, provoking countermeasures by adversaries, sowing doubts in allies and stiffening support among the non-nuclear states for banning the bomb. Expanding U.S. and Russian nuclear weapon developments and deployments lead to the normalization of the discourse of nuclear weapon use. They also embolden calls for nuclear-weapon acquisition by some others.

In February, Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review outlined an expansive vision of the role of nuclear weapons. Its fourfold effect will be to enlarge the U.S. nuclear arsenal, introduce new weapons, lower the threshold for their use and broaden the circumstances in which the threat of nuclear weapons can be made as tools of diplomatic coercion. Yet in an opinion poll published last January, 60 percent of Americans do not trust Trump to handle his nuclear command authority responsibly. With the departure of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the Cabinet lost its last adult. Trump has become a bull who carries his own china shop everywhere.

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted of a new array of invincible nuclear weapons, using language disturbingly reminiscent of the Cold War. Meanwhile the official paper of the People’s Liberation Army called for China to strengthen its nuclear deterrence and counterstrike capabilities in response to U.S. and Russian developments.

In October, Trump said the U.S. will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because Russia has been violating it for many years. The decision is motivated also by China’s growing challenge to American dominance in the Pacific. The development highlights two contemporary truths. First, the essentially dyadic nuclear equations of the Cold War are no longer adequate as the analytic frame for comprehending today’s interlinked nuclear chains that span several other nuclear-armed states; the Asia-Pacific is as relevant as the Euro-Atlantic. And second, the need to multilateralize the nuclear arms control architecture can no longer be denied.

The unreliability of the U.S. nuclear umbrella under Trump continued to generate debate on nuclear self-reliance. Germany must cultivate an ambitious strategic culture that recognizes the “nuclearization of the 21st century” and equips it to meet them through an independent German deterrent, says prominent political scientist Christian Hacke. Malcolm Davis canvassed the same option for Australia.

Regionally, 2018 began with unexpected positive developments on the Korean Peninsula that produced a summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. By year’s end the irrational exuberance over imminent North Korean denuclearization had faded, but there was no return to the acute tension of 2017. While inter-Korean relations continue to improve, Washington and Pyongyang remain divided by sharp differences over the respective motivations behind the summit and meaning, scope and sequencing of key terms.

Although India and Pakistan remain as far away as ever from a peace regime in South Asia, there were no flare-ups in their relations, nor in India-China relations resembling the 10-week Doklam military standoff in mid-2017.

The world thought it had gained a 15-year respite from the twin threats, of an Iranian nuclear bomb and of Iran being bombed, with a multilateral deal that imposed a robust dismantlement, transparency, inspections and consequences regime to reverse Iran’s weapon-sensitive nuclear program. That double-sided comfort blanket has gone with Trump’s exit from the 2015 deal. The reimposed U.S. sanctions are in direct violation of Security Council Resolution 2231.

The unilateral and illegal U.S. exit reinforces every hardliner’s conviction that it cannot be trusted to honor an internationally negotiated agreement. Whether Iran continues to abide by or abrogates it, and perhaps even pulls out of the NPT to resume nuclear weaponization, will depend on how successful other parties are in ensuring continued economic benefits to Iran. There are obvious proliferation implications for the region should the deal collapse.

The Nuclear Ban Treaty was adopted by two-thirds of U.N. members in July 2017. By year’s end, 69 states had signed and 19 had ratified it. It will come into effect after 50 ratifications. There are reasonable prospects of this happening in 2019, at which point there will be two international treaties for setting global nuclear policy directions and norms. All nine nuclear-armed states and allies sheltering under their nuclear umbrella had strenuously opposed the treaty. Yet once in force, it will form part of the new international institutional reality.

There are signs of discomfort in some umbrella states at having been exposed as lip-service adherents of the cause of nuclear disarmament. The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund and the largest Dutch pension fund have decided not to invest in nuclear-weapon-producing companies. The Australian Labor Party conference in December unanimously approved a resolution committing a future Labor government to sign and ratify the ban treaty.

Because this will violate many existing bilateral security arrangements with the U.S., Labor is unlikely to give it high priority if the government changes after elections due by May. But it sets down an important marker for majority sentiment among Labor Party members and parliamentarians. Importantly, Australian accession to the Ban Treaty would be compatible with a minimalist reading of the ANZUS Treaty but would have significant impact on present security ties.

On Nov. 1, the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee adopted a Japan-sponsored disarmament resolution that calls for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The explicit references to the disarmament Article 6 of the NPT were opposed by the U.S., which abstained on the resolution, calling it a “step back.” Opponents must learn to deal with the Nuclear Ban Treaty. Critics charge it undermines the NPT. This is odd. All signatories are members in good standing of the NPT while opponents have lined up alongside long-standing NPT rejectionists like India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Ramesh Thakur, a former United Nations assistant secretary-general, is a professor emeritus at the Australian National University and co-convenor of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN).

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

15 Palestinians, including paramedics, injured at eastern Gaza borders

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — At least 15 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday evening.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 12 of those injured were injured with live bullets, while three paramedics were hit with tear-gas canisters.

Palestinian crowds had gathered alongside the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip to take part in the 41st Friday of “The Great March of Return.”

Israeli forces opened live fire and tear-gas bombs towards protesters.

“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.

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

Dozens of incendiary balloons land on Gaza border


A bouquet of dozens of incendiary balloons landed inside Israel on the Gaza border on Sunday morning, according to the police.

The balloons were discovered by resident Batya Holin, who shared a picture on Facebook.

Toy drone with countless balloons launched from the #GazaStrip was found by a resident of a southern #Israel community less than an hour ago.

— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) January 6, 2019

The balloons were attached to a drone, which was labeled with a logo from the Gaza engineering college. Police detonated the device. There were no injuries.

The Russian Horn’s Nuclear Games

Russia Wanted a Tank That Could Fire Missiles and Nuclear Weapons

In the 1950s and 1960s when tactical nuclear weapons were expected to rule the battlefield, the Soviet Army developed a variety of short-range tactical nuclear launchers , their answer to the American launchers like the Davy Crockett.

One of these systems was the “Reseda” launcher, two 230mm recoilless rifles that would fire an oversize 360mm tactical nuke up to six kilometers away. These launchers were mounted on a BTR-60 chassis.

But by the late 1960s, such simple systems were considered to be too primitive. A new generation of tactical nuclear launchers was ordered to be developed. Two systems were created as a result of this push, “Rosehip” for motorized rifle regiments and “Taran” for tank units.

The “Taran” project incorporated another avenue of development that was very “hot” at the time in the Soviet Union, the “missile tank.” The IT-1 tank was developed around the same time in the Soviet Union, which featured an anti-tank guided missile launcher as the primary weapon, as opposed to a traditional main gun.

Combining these characteristics, the Taran project was to create a missile tank that could launch large tactical nukes, then follow up in the attack by firing Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs). The tank was to be based on the T-64 chassis. The turret was to be completely new and feature a rocket-gun (similar to those mounted on the German Sturmtiger).

The tactical nuclear projectile itself was said to have a caliber of 300mm and a launch weight of 150 kg. The warhead weighed 65 kg and had a yield of 0.3 kilotons. Three of these projectiles were to be carried in each Taran.

While requirements for the project required the system to be able to fire out to 8 km, calculations suggest that the rocket projectile could have reached up to 12 km.

However, the rocket projectiles lacked any sort of guidance. In direct fire mode, the projectiles were expected to land within 100m of the aim point. Firing in indirect mode, this error would be increased by 2.5x.

The Taran was also meant to carry around 10-12 ATGMs in addition to nuclear projectiles. The designers wanted the Taran to be able to attack with regular tanks to mop up surviving vehicles after firing its nuclear salvo, and the large caliber of the gun made it suitable to fire ATGMs, as the effectiveness of a HEAT warhead is mostly correlated to the diameter of the warhead.

These ATGMs were estimated to be able to punch through 300mm of steel.

But by the 1970s, Soviet interest in the Taran faded. The “nuclear battlefield” was on the way out, with fears that the use of tactical nukes could lead to further escalation. The accuracy of the Taran’s main gun was also considered insufficient with the small yield of its warheads. The Taran would only be effective on large concentrations of enemy forces with its small warhead.

For these reasons, the Taran project was killed in the 1970s.

The concept of a gun that could fire both regular projectiles and guided missiles was eventually added to the regular T-64 in the T-64B.

But the Taran might not have killed the concept of a nuclear tank for the Soviets. One of the key features of the Object 195 tank prototype (considered by some to be the predecessor of the current T-14 Armata) was its ability to fire 152mm artillery rounds out of its main gun.

Theoretically, the Object 195 could fire the 3BV3 tactical nuclear shell out of its gu This shell features a yield of 1kt, three times more powerful than the Taran’s, due to further development and miniaturization of nuclear warhead technology.

As the Armata is designed to be able to retrofit a 152mm gun in the future, we may see a return of a nuclear-capable tank to the battlefield.

Some Russian sources have attempted to discredit this usefulness of a nuclear tank.

However, their arguments, that a nuclear shell would be incredibly self-destructive, and that regular depleted uranium shells are better for anti-tank combat are contradictory to other Russian claims and ignore the resistance of armor to nuclear fallout.

Sergey Kuznetsov claims that the Armata’s main gun has a range of 4 km. Ignoring that this probably applies to the current 125mm armed version and not the 152mm version that would be nuclear capable, Russia itself has claimed that the Armata can acquire and destroy targets out to 12km.

While the 12 km range figure applies to ATGMs, there’s no ballistic limitation that would prevent the firing of a nuclear shell out to 12km from an Armata.

Even within 4 km, a tank firing a 1kt nuclear shell would probably be just fine. As said above, tanks are resistant to fallout due to filtration systems, radiation due to liners, and the blast wave due to aerodynamic design. The blast wave of a 1kt shell by most modeling would only reach out to around 1km.

The second claim given by Kuznetsov, that it’s easier to attain greater penetration by using depleted uranium, ignores the purpose of the nuclear shell. The Taran was designed to use its nuclear shells to begin the attack, and then later use ATGMs to punch through armor. The initial nuclear projectiles would be fired to disrupt enemy electronics and kill soft targets, not directly at enemy tanks in an attempt to penetrate them.

Charlie Gao studied political and computer science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national-security issues.

The New Nuclear Horns (Daniel)

Nuclear order in the twenty-first century

Rakesh Sood

By the mid-1990s when the term, ‘Second Nuclear Age’ started appearing in the writings of analysts, there was a dim realisation that new players would emerge on the nuclear scene. After 9/11, the threat perceptions on account of global terrorism grew, and they have remained a persisting concern. Yet, the international strategic community’s efforts have been focused largely on preserving the existing nuclear order rather than figuring out how it may need to evolve in the so-called Second Nuclear Age. It is clear that today, new semantics is needed—one that reflects the current political dynamics if the nuclear taboo that has existed since 1945 is to be sustained. This monograph addresses this challenge of furthering a discussion on evolving a new vocabulary and grammar for a 21st-century nuclear order. Our contributors include both practitioners who have been engaged in nuclear negotiations, and academics; in some cases, the author straddle both domains. Although the authors differ in terms of how much we can rely on old instruments and maps, there is broad agreement that we are navigating uncharted waters.