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

Living on the Fault Line

A major earthquake isn’t likely here, but if it comes, watch out.

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo

This chart shows the location of the Ramapo Fault System, the longest and one of the oldest systems of cracks in the earth’s crust in the Northeast. It also shows the location of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in New Jersey during the last 50 years. The circle in blue indicates the largest known Jersey quake.

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.

But no area on the East Coast is as densely populated or as heavily built-up as parts of New Jersey and its neighbors. For this reason, scientists refer to the Greater New York City-Philadelphia area, which includes New Jersey’s biggest cities, as one of “low earthquake hazard but high vulnerability.” Put simply, the Big One isn’t likely here—but if it comes, especially in certain locations, watch out.

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.

The Ramapo Fault sits on the North American Plate, which extends past the East Coast to the middle of the Atlantic, where it meets the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range in constant flux. The consequences of this intraplate setting are huge: First, as Gates points out, “The predictability of bigger earthquakes on…[such] settings is exceedingly poor, because they don’t occur very often.” Second, the intraplate setting makes it more difficult to link our earthquakes to a major cause or fault, as monitors in California can often do.

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 Paradox Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

The Gaza paradox: Palestinians are fed up with Hamas, Israel is worried – Palestinians – Haaretz.com

Zvi Bar’el18.03.2019 | 00:58

At any other time, Gazan discontent with Hamas would be good news for Israel. But on election eve, Israel needs a stable enemy

The slogan, “We want to live” isn’t just a catchphrase yelled by the Gaza residents demonstrating in the Strip last week against Hamas, it’s also the name of a Facebook page that has thousands of followers and on which there are dozens of very harsh anti-Hamas posts.

“At a time when the [popular] movement went out to demonstrate, suddenly Qassam [Iz al-Din al-Qassam, Hamas’ military wing] comes out to march. By God, the ones giving them these damned ideas are the Jews,” wrote Mohammed al-Masri, who accused Hamas’ military wing of deliberately undermining the public’s right to demonstrate.

“How can it be that the young people of Iz al-Din al-Qassam be satisfied with the poverty they’re in while their leaders are the greatest money launderers, collecting millions by begging all around the world?” asked Nael Khader.

Amjad al-Arabid, a journalist who writes for several media outlets, has an especially active Facebook page, on which Ahmad Walid posted the following:

“I was innocently driving to bring my wife and children home from my in-laws. Suddenly a police jeep appeared behind me and started to honk incessantly for me to clear the way. There was a car in front of me and I couldn’t move. Near the junction the road opened up a little and the jeep could have passed me. It indeed passed me then stopped in front of me, near the Al-Omda restaurant. Two masked men got out of the jeep and started beating and cursing me. They threw me to the ground, took my car keys and forced me into the jeep, which already had around 10 young men who had been beaten and cursed, and they brought all of us to the police station. Only then did soldiers [Hamas men] come in and reprimand the policemen for hitting civilians. Enough with these humiliations and mafia behavior.”

A short search on the Facebook page reveals a video clip in which a Gaza woman is incensed over the death of a young demonstrator shot by Hamas fire. “Why does the 20-year-old son of a senior Hamas figure have everything he wants, a house and a jeep and a car, and he can get married, while the ordinary people have nothing, not even a piece of bread?” The woman, from Dir al-Balah, is directing her anger at a Hamas commander, who asks her if she saw who fired, and if he wore a police or army uniform. “He wasn’t in uniform, but I can assure you that he was a member of Iz al-Din al-Qassam,” she said.

An hour earlier, Al-Arabid reported that Hamas had turned the Al-Hashimiya school in Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood into a detention center. “They have inherited Israel’s policy of oppression,” he wrote. On another Facebook page, by Muhammad Firwana, he justifies the struggle of the „We Want to Live“ movement. “Everyone has the right to stand up against anyone who punishes and tortures them. Every person has the right to say ‘we’re tired of this.’ But who is responsible? Who is refusing to allow an electric line into Gaza? Who is blocking the clerks’ salaries? Who has not allowed the transfer of medical aid into Gaza? Who is preventing the treatment of cancer patients? Whom are you fighting against? Against your brethren who are locked in the same closure as you are? The compass is off. The one who’s imposing a closure on us is [Palestinian Authority chairman] Mahmoud Abbas, the one denying us life is Mahmoud Abbas, not Hamas. We are all under siege, including Hamas.”

The mass protests in Jabalya, Dir al-Balah and Khan Yunis are not the first time that Gaza residents have protested against the economic crisis in the Strip. It’s also not the first time that posts critical of Hamas have appeared on social networks. Two years ago there were videos that showed how associates of Ismail Haniyeh, the former Hamas prime minister, enjoyed luxuries and revealed how Hamas men brutally dispersed demonstrations. But it seems that this time the protests are more sweeping and intense, and the public response to how the demonstrations in Jabalya were broken up are pushing the envelope.

The nature of the protest is evidence that fear of the Hamas regime has deepening cracks, and that awe of its power is gradually fading. The cancellation of the demonstrations along the border this past weekend may have been attributed to Hamas’ response to Egyptian intervention and its insistence that the rockets fired at Tel Aviv last Thursday were a “mistake.” Hamas also issued warnings against any violations of its orders – and this time the orders were to maintain quiet.

But it’s possible that Hamas itself isn’t totally certain that after the tough dispersal of the demonstrations, which included shooting, it will be able to once again enlist the masses to rush the border fence to protest Gaza’s closure. The website of Islamic Jihad, which sends its young people to the fence protests, issued an official condemnation on Thursday against the violence used against demonstrators and demanded the release of all those imprisoned. “This is a violation of the right to demonstrate, which is part of the right of every citizen to express his opinion,” wrote the organization, which is not usually known for its concern for civil rights.

The paradox is that under other circumstances, Israel would be pleased with the public protest in Gaza and see it as proof of the success of the closure policy, which it believes could lead to Hamas’ downfall. But the turmoil Hamas is experiencing worries Israel too. It needs a partner to take responsibility for running the Strip, stop a disintegration that could lead to a large-scale armed conflict on the eve of the election, and serve as an address for mediation. Suddenly it turns out that the confrontations at the fence are a marginal threat, if at all, compared to the risk of instability of the Hamas government.

Israel Pounds Gaza Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel pounds Gaza after “mistaken” missile launch

Maureen Clare Murphy

Rights and Accountability

15 March 2019

A Gaza City site struck by Israel the previous night, 15 March. Ashraf Amra APA images

The occupied Gaza Strip was subjected to some 100 Israeli strikes overnight Friday after two rockets were fired from Gaza toward central Israel, sounding off sirens in Tel Aviv.

One of the rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon. No injuries were reported as a result of the two rockets.

Gaza’s health ministry reported four injuries due to the “Israeli escalation,” after which four rockets were fired from Gaza toward southern Israel, according to Israeli media.

The bombing frequency is much higher than usual. We have had at least five or six blasts just in our area. Huge orange flashes can be seen from the window

Egyptian mediators stated that a ceasefire was declared at 8am Friday morning, and both the Hamas leadership in Gaza and the Israeli military appeared keen to avoid a prolonged escalation.

Both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad factions in Gaza, the organizations most likely to possess mid-range rockets that could reach Tel Aviv, quickly denied responsibility, with Hamas saying that it would discipline those responsible for acting outside the national consensus.

Israel: rockets launched by mistake

Hamas officials were meeting with Egyptian mediators at the time the two rockets were launched. The Egyptian delegation, which has been conducting indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel for several months, was told to leave by Israel later that night before the bombardment of the Strip.

On Friday, the Israeli military told media that the rockets were likely launched by mistake during maintenance work.

Meanwhile the Great March of Return organizing committee announced that it would postpone demonstrations along Gaza’s eastern boundaries that day, the first cancelation of the weekly protests since their launch on 30 March last year.

The committee obliquely referenced the overnight escalation and called on Palestinians to prepare for a massive mobilization on the one-year anniversary of the protests.

Nearly 200 Palestinians, including 40 children, have been killed during the Great March of Return protests and more than 7,800 injured by live fire.

A United Nations independent commission of inquiry recently published its preliminary report stating that it had collected evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel, which has used lethal military force against unarmed protesters in Gaza.

The commission called on Israel to immediately lift its blockade on Gaza – one of the key demands of the Great March of Return – and to investigate “every protest-related killing and injury, promptly, impartially and independently.”

Israeli media reported this week that military police have been instructed to investigate eight additional protest deaths, bringing to 11 the number of fatalities purportedly under review.

B’Tselem, a leading human rights group in Israel, has previously described the Israeli military’s internal probes as a whitewashing mechanism that “serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.”

Israel keeps up the appearance of a robust internal investigative apparatus to ward off accountability in international courts.

The commission of inquiry’s confidential file containing dossiers of alleged perpetrators of international crimes related to the Great March of Return will be handed over to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights so that it can be transferred to the International Criminal Court.

The situation in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip has been under preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court since 2015. Its chief prosecutor issued an unprecedented warning to Israeli leaders last year that they may face trial for the killings of unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Judges in The Hague have also ordered the International Criminal Court to reach out to victims of war crimes in Palestine.

Israel refused to cooperate with the UN commission of inquiry and denied entry to investigators, as it meanwhile seeks the deportation of the director of Human Rights Watch’s Jerusalem office.

But while publicly attacking the International Criminal Court, Israel is secretly cooperating with the court’s investigation into its 51-day military offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014.

“There is concern in the political and military echelons that the court will open a criminal investigation into Israel’s actions in the Strip, a process that could lead to a wave of lawsuits against those involved and even to their arrest abroad,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in November.

More than 2,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 1,462 civilians, among them at least 551 children, were killed during the summer 2014 onslaught, according to an independent investigation commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council.

Six civilians died in Israel and more than 60 Israeli soldiers died in fighting with the Palestinian resistance.

One of the commanders of that attack, former Israeli army chief Benny Gantz, seeks to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu, who was prime minister during the 2014 assault, in Israel’s general election on 9 April.

Gantz and another top Israeli officer are currently being sued for war crimes in the Netherlands by Ismail Ziada, a Palestinian-Dutch citizen whose mother and five other family members were killed in the Israeli bombing of their home in Gaza during the 2014 assault.

US threatens ICC

On Friday, the US announced that it would revoke or deny visas to “individuals directly responsible for any [International Criminal Court] investigation of US personnel,” in addition to those investigating Israel.

In November 2017 the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court initiated an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan since May 2003.

“If you are responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have or will get a visa or will be permitted to enter the United States,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee noted that Pompeo’s comment “suggested that action may have already been taken against the ICC prosecutor.”

New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?

Ashley Fetters

New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnels; air conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.

The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.

The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.

Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?

Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”

And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)

Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.

Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.

The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.

MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann

Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)

One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”

Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.

And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.

So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?

“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”

Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail tips@curbed.com, and we may include it in a future column.

Thousands Protest Outside the Temple Walls— Against Hamas

Tens of Thousands in Gaza Protest — Against Hamas

By Dov Benovadiaט‘ אדר ב‘ תשע“ט

YERUSHALAYIM

Hundreds of Arabs rioted along the Gaza border fence Friday afternoon, throwing rocks and firebombs at IDF troops – but the real action was in the interior of Gaza, where tens of thousands demonstrated against Hamas, demanding that the terror group provide for their welfare, instead of the “privileged groups” who have been receiving money and benefits over the years, protesters charged.

Sources associated with Fatah on Saturday night distributed footage of a resident of the Jabalya refugee camp, Ahmed Abu Tahoun, who set himself on fire. According to the sources, Abu Tahoun was thrown out of his home because he couldn’t pay his rent. With that, Maariv quoted Israeli officials as saying that the footage was apparently old, and had been circulated last year.

The official reason for the protests was the high cost of living in Gaza, but Kan News showed numerous video clips of dissatisfied Gazans slamming Hamas for their poverty. “They [Hamas] have houses, money, vacations, enough money to marry off their children, while we have nothing,” one protester says. “The time has come to sweep away this corrupt regime. If you do not listen to the demands of the people we will sweep you away,” another protester says.

Footage shows Gazans throwing rocks at black-clad Hamas police, who chase the protesters throughout Gaza City and use live fire against them. Hundreds were reported injured, but the number could not be confirmed, because Hamas has been silent on the protests. Protesters reported that Hamas has been beating protesters and raiding houses, and that hundreds have been arrested. Among those arrested have been journalists who have been chronicling the events, protesters said.

Hamas is blaming Fatah for the protests. A source in Gaza told Maariv that “if these protests continue through Monday, Hamas will have a real revolution on its hands. It’s a shame that Fatah is turning this into a political thing, because there is real anger here against the high cost of living and Hamas corruption.” Because of the Fatah interference, the source said, “Hamas can accuse protesters of being traitors, and thus quash the rebellion.”

Palestinian Authority chief and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas months ago shut down all transfer payments to Gaza, in an effort to incite Gazans against Hamas. As tens of thousands protested in Gaza’s towns and refugee camps against Hamas, several thousand also protested against Abbas, demanding that he end the “siege” against Gaza, and begin sending payments again.

On Friday, Hamas, for the first time in a year, canceled the weekly demonstration at the Gaza border fence. The cancellation came after two Fajr missiles were fired Thursday night from Gaza at the Tel Aviv area. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad denied firing the rockets, but the IDF responded by hitting over 100 Hamas targets in Gaza, causing heavy damage to the group’s infrastructure, as well as buildings and structures, including a port used by the terror group to conduct naval exercises. Despite the cancellation of the demonstrations, several hundred Gazans showed up anyway and rioted, and IDF troops used anti-riot measures to quell the crowd.

Aftermath of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Aftermath of nuclear war

The possibility of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India was widely debated in the past few days. Let us take a look at the aftermath of such a misadventure. Nine sovereign nuclear states across the world share between them approximately 14,000 nuclear missiles. Three nuclear flash points exist in today’s era: America and North Korea, Russia and NATO, and Pakistan and India. The Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India is the most volatile place in the world right now as both nuclear states stare at the dreary possibility of a nuclear clash.

A nuclear confrontation anywhere in the world would have similar effects: a smoky sky, long-term climatic effects, dead crops and starvation, radiation poisoning, skin cancer and genetically deformed births. Not to mention the countless casualties at the site of the nuclear explosion due to blast, heat, and fallout.

Brian Toon, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, has studied nuclear warfare for almost 4 decades. He summarised the aftermath of a nuclear war in this era as ‘the end of the world.’Within days of an atomic blast, the resultant hot soot (black smoke produced by incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons) would rise some miles above the earth up to the stratosphere where it would envelop the earth. This soot sheath would prevent direct sunlight and heat from reaching the earth, dropping the earth’s temperature. This is described as ‘nuclear winter’ with ice age-like conditions.

Sunlight would be unavailable for plants to undergo photosynthesis – the process by which plants produce nutrients to survive and function normally. The immediate result would be dead crops and global starvation. Toon estimated that agricultural produce ceased following a nuclear clash would lead to worldwide starvation within 2 months. Exports would halt and millions would die as collateral damage. The ensuing smoke of a nuclear blast would create a near-global hole in the protective ozone layer triggering a global health crisis.

The need of the hour is a pragmatic leadership on both side and not just an alpha-male who is solely focused on proving his masculinity by playing to the right-wing audience at home

Consequently, ultraviolet (UV) radiations from the sun would reach the earth unopposed and age skin cells and destroy their DNA, increasing the risk of skin burns and skin cancer. The same UV rays would also cause of permanent blindness. Hibakusha is a Japanese origin word used for the unfortunate victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 74 years into this tragedy, and babies are still being born with genetic deformities. A nuclear war in the South-Asia would be disastrous for generations to come. Bone marrow death – wherein red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet production decreases – is another deadly outcome of an atomic explosion. This increases the likelihood of infections and bleeding. Two of the world’s smallest nuclear powers and poorest countries, where majority live under the poverty line have egos the size of an ox. What Pakistan and India have achieved by decades of stubbornness and wars could easily rest on an eyelash.

The need of the hour is a pragmatic leadership on both side and not just an alpha-male who is solely focused on proving his masculinity by playing to the right-wing audience at home. There needs to be compassion, communication and transparency on both sides of the LoC. The real battle starts once the nuclear war ends. This battle is fought on multiple fronts to combat health, environmental, economic, political and infrastructural challenges. All possible strategies have been employed by Pakistan and India such as wars, oppression, proxies and baits. Peace needs to be given a chance.

The writer is a medical doctor based in Islamabad

Published in Daily Times, March 17th 2019

Russia Deploy New Doomsday Nukes (Revelation 16)

Russia will deploy underwater submarines armed with nuclear drones capable of causing a 90-metre radioactive tsunami, state media reports

The so-called Poseidon strategic missiles, carrying up to 200 megaton warheads, will be deployed by 2020 and could wipe out the likes of Los Angeles, according to reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military plans to deploy the weapons on the new Project 09852 sub Belgorod — a converted nuclear-powered submarine.

Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass, citing a Moscow defence source, claims the underwater warships could carry six of the Poseidon torpedoes.

In January, Fox News reported a former senior adviser to US President Doanld Trump admitted there were “genuine concerns” about the plan.

Former State Department senior adviser Christian Whiton said a blast would create a “wave — and a highly irradiated one”, but because the water would absorb a lot of the energy, the wave would be less damaging than getting hit by the bomb itself.

The Poseidon nuclear drone was revealed by Russia’s defence ministry in May 2018. Picture: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

A prototype doomsday craft took to the waves for the first time on Christmas Day to begin undersea trials, Tass news agency reported.

A defence source is quoted as saying: “In the sea area protected from a potential enemy’s reconnaissance means, the underwater trials of the nuclear propulsion unit of the Poseidon drone are under way.”

The drone is said to be powered by a miniaturised nuclear reactor, which has been fitted to the rear for ocean tests.

Russia is quick to flex its military muscle.

DOOMSDAY DEVICE

Before Christmas, it was expected development of the weapon was at an early stage and the craft was being carried by one of the Russian navy’s nuclear submarines “as part of experimental design work rather than full-fledged sea trials at this stage”, the source told Tass.

Mr Putin revealed the existence of the state-of-the-art new weapon earlier in 2018 and claimed it would be able to whizz through the ocean almost silently at up to 70 knots.

He said: “It is really fantastic. They are quiet, highly manoeuvrable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit.

“There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.”

Poseidon — originally called the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System — got its name after a Boaty McBoatface-style public poll by Russia’s Defence Ministry.

The massive unmanned sub is being developed by the Russian Defence Ministry.

It is reportedly designed to wipe out enemy naval bases with nuke warheads

PUTIN’S WAR GAMES

The drones will be armed with conventional weapons and a two-megaton nuclear warhead with the “primary purpose” of destroying naval bases, according to reports in Russia.

However analysts at the Pentagon — who use the name Kanyon for the drones — are said to believe they will carry “tens of megatons” of explosive power.

Experts have said that kind of blast underwater could be enough to trigger a tsunami as powerful as the one that killed 20,000 people in Japan and knocked out the Fukushima power plant in 2011.

Physicist Rex Richardson told Business Insider: “A well-placed nuclear weapon of yield in the range 20MT to 50MT near a sea coast could certainly couple enough energy to equal the 2011 tsunami, perhaps much more.”

Some reports claim the resulting wave could reach 90 metres, swamping entire cities.

And there are fears it could blow ocean sediment into the air, generating a deadly radioactive dust cloud.

Russia’s navy had previously said they hoped Poseidon would be in service by 2027.

The claimed miniature nuke reactor — said to be 100 times smaller than previously achieved — allegedly powers the Burevestnik 9M730 cruise missile.

That was also unveiled earlier in 2018, part of an arsenal of advanced weapons Russia claims is capable of thwarting the most modern defences to help it win a potential World War III.