The Sixth Seal Will be in New York (Revelation 6:12)

By Simon Worrall

PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2017

Half a million earthquakes occur worldwide each year, according to an estimate by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Most are too small to rattle your teacup. But some, like the 2011 quake off the coast of Japan or last year’s disaster in Italy, can level high-rise buildings, knock out power, water and communications, and leave a lifelong legacy of trauma for those unlucky enough to be caught in them.

In the U.S., the focus is on California’s San Andreas fault, which geologists suggest has a nearly one-in-five chance of causing a major earthquake in the next three decades. But it’s not just the faults we know about that should concern us, says Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake. As she explained when National Geographic caught up with her at her home in Portland, Maine, there’s a much larger number of faults we don’t know about—and fracking is only adding to the risks.

When it comes to earthquakes, there is really only one question everyone wants to know: When will the big one hit California?

That’s the question seismologists wish they could answer, too! One of the most shocking and surprising things for me is just how little is actually known about this natural phenomenon. The geophysicists, seismologists, and emergency managers that I spoke with are the first to say, “We just don’t know!”

What we can say is that it is relatively certain that a major earthquake will happen in California in our lifetime. We don’t know where or when. An earthquake happening east of San Diego out in the desert is going to have hugely different effects than that same earthquake happening in, say, Los Angeles. They’re both possible, both likely, but we just don’t know.

One of the things that’s important to understand about San Andreas is that it’s a fault zone. As laypeople we tend to think about it as this single crack that runs through California and if it cracks enough it’s going to dump the state into the ocean. But that’s not what’s happening here. San Andreas is a huge fault zone, which goes through very different types of geological features. As a result, very different types of earthquakes can happen in different places.

As Charles Richter, inventor of the Richter Scale, famously said, “Only fools, liars and charlatans predict earthquakes.” Why are earthquakes so hard to predict? After all, we have sent rockets into space and plumbed the depths of the ocean.

You’re right: We know far more about distant galaxies than we do about the inner workings of our planet. The problem is that seismologists can’t study an earthquake because they don’t know when or where it’s going to happen. It could happen six miles underground or six miles under the ocean, in which case they can’t even witness it. They can go back and do forensic, post-mortem work. But we still don’t know where most faults lie. We only know where a fault is after an earthquake has occurred. If you look at the last 100 years of major earthquakes in the U.S., they’ve all happened on faults we didn’t even know existed.

Earthquakes 101

Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with enough force to bring buildings down. Find out what causes earthquakes, why they’re so deadly, and what’s being done to help buildings sustain their hits.

Fracking is a relatively new industry. Many people believe that it can cause what are known as induced earthquakes. What’s the scientific consensus?

The scientific consensus is that a practice known as wastewater injection undeniably causes earthquakes when the geological features are conducive. In the fracking process, water and lubricants are injected into the earth to split open the rock, so oil and natural gas can be retrieved. As this happens, wastewater is also retrieved and brought back to the surface.

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Different states deal with this in different ways. Some states, like Pennsylvania, favor letting the wastewater settle in aboveground pools, which can cause run-off contamination of drinking supplies. Other states, like Oklahoma, have chosen to re-inject the water into the ground. And what we’re seeing in Oklahoma is that this injection is enough to shift the pressure inside the earth’s core, so that daily earthquakes are happening in communities like Stillwater. As our technology improves, and both our ability and need to extract more resources from the earth increases, our risk of causing earthquakes will also rise exponentially.

After Fukushima, the idea of storing nuclear waste underground cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Yet President Trump has recently green-lighted new funds for the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. Is that wise?

The issue with Fukushima was not about underground nuclear storage but it is relevant. The Tohoku earthquake, off the coast of Japan, was a massive, 9.0 earthquake—so big that it shifted the axis of the earth and moved the entire island of Japan some eight centimeters! It also created a series of tsunamis, which swamped the Fukushima nuclear power plant to a degree the designers did not believe was possible.

Here in the U.S., we have nuclear plants that are also potentially vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, above all on the East Coast, like Pilgrim Nuclear, south of Boston, or Indian Point, north of New York City. Both of these have been deemed by the USGS to have an unacceptable level of seismic risk. [Both are scheduled to close in the next few years.]

Yucca Mountain is meant to address our need to store the huge amounts of nuclear waste that have been accumulating for more than 40 years. Problem number one is getting it out of these plants. We are going to have to somehow truck or train these spent fuel rods from, say, Boston, to a place like Yucca Mountain, in Nevada. On the way it will have to go through multiple earthquake zones, including New Madrid, which is widely considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous earthquake zones.

Yucca Mountain itself has had seismic activity. Ultimately, there’s no great place to put nuclear waste—and there’s no guarantee that where we do put it is going to be safe.

The psychological and emotional effects of an earthquake are especially harrowing. Why is that?

This is a fascinating and newly emerging subfield within psychology, which looks at the effects of natural disasters on both our individual and collective psyches. Whenever you experience significant trauma, you’re going to see a huge increase in PTSD, anxiety, depression, suicide, and even violent behaviors.

What seems to make earthquakes particularly pernicious is the surprise factor. A tornado will usually give people a few minutes, if not longer, to prepare; same thing with hurricanes. But that doesn’t happen with an earthquake. There is nothing but profound surprise. And the idea that the bedrock we walk and sleep upon can somehow become liquid and mobile seems to be really difficult for us to get our heads around.

Psychologists think that there are two things happening. One is a PTSD-type loop where our brain replays the trauma again and again, manifesting itself in dreams or panic attacks during the day. But there also appears to be a physiological effect as well as a psychological one. If your readers have ever been at sea for some time and then get off the ship and try to walk on dry land, they know they will look like drunkards. [Laughs] The reason for this is that the inner ear has habituated itself to the motion of the ship. We think the inner ear does something similar in the case of earthquakes, in an attempt to make sense of this strange, jarring movement.

After the Abruzzo quake in Italy, seven seismologists were actually tried and sentenced to six years in jail for failing to predict the disaster. Wouldn’t a similar threat help improve the prediction skills of American seismologists?

[Laughs] The scientific community was uniform in denouncing that action by the Italian government because, right now, earthquakes are impossible to predict. But the question of culpability is an important one. To what degree do we want to hold anyone responsible? Do we want to hold the local meteorologist responsible if he gets the weather forecast wrong? [Laughs]

What scientists say—and I don’t think this is a dodge on their parts—is, “Predicting earthquakes is the Holy Grail; it’s not going to happen in our lifetime. It may never happen.” What we can do is work on early warning systems, where we can at least give people 30 or 90 seconds to make a few quick decisive moves that could well save your life. We have failed to do that. But Mexico has had one in place for years!

There is some evidence that animals can predict earthquakes. Is there any truth to these theories?

All we know right now is anecdotal information because this is so hard to test for. We don’t know where the next earthquake is going to be so we can’t necessarily set up cameras and observe the animals there. So we have to rely on these anecdotal reports, say, of reptiles coming out of the ground prior to a quake. The one thing that was recorded here in the U.S. recently was that in the seconds before an earthquake in Oklahoma huge flocks of birds took flight. Was that coincidence? Related? We can’t draw that correlation yet.

One of the fascinating new approaches to prediction is the MyQuake app. Tell us how it works—and why it could be an especially good solution for Third World countries.

The USGS desperately wants to have it funded. The reluctance appears to be from Congress. A consortium of universities, in conjunction with the USGS, has been working on some fascinating tools. One is a dense network of seismographs that feed into a mainframe computer, which can take all the information and within nanoseconds understand that an earthquake is starting.

MyQuake is an app where you can get up to date information on what’s happening around the world. What’s fascinating is that our phones can also serve as seismographs. The same technology that knows which way your phone is facing, and whether it should show us an image in portrait or landscape, registers other kinds of movement. Scientists at UC Berkeley are looking to see if they can crowd source that information so that in places where we don’t have a lot of seismographs or measuring instruments, like New York City or Chicago or developing countries like Nepal, we can use smart phones both to record quakes and to send out early warning notices to people.

You traveled all over the U.S. for your research. Did you return home feeling safer?

I do not feel safer in the sense that I had no idea just how much risk regions of this country face on a daily basis when it comes to seismic hazards. We tend to think of this as a West Coast problem but it’s not! It’s a New York, Memphis, Seattle, or Phoenix problem. Nearly every major urban center in this country is at risk of a measurable earthquake.

What I do feel safer about is knowing what I can do as an individual. I hope that is a major take-home message for people who read the book. There are so many things we should be doing as individuals, family members, or communities to minimize this risk: simple things from having a go-bag and an emergency plan amongst the family to larger things like building codes.

We know that a major earthquake is going to happen. It’s probably going to knock out our communications lines. Phones aren’t going to work, Wi-Fi is going to go down, first responders are not going to be able to get to people for quite some time. So it is beholden on all of us to make sure we can survive until help can get to us.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Democrats Try to Stop Trump’s Nuclear Testing

GETTY IMAGES

Spending bill would block funding for nuclear testing

BY REBECCA KHEEL

A spending bill released by House Democrats would ban funding from being used to conduct a nuclear test.

The House Appropriation Committee’s draft fiscal 2021 appropriations bill for the Energy Department would prohibit funding from being used to “conduct, or prepare to conduct, any explosive nuclear weapons test that produces any yield,” according to text released Monday.

Critically, the bill would prevent the Trump administration from using any funds to carry out its dangerous and short-sighted plan to resume nuclear testing,” committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Monday.

The provision was included in the panel’s energy spending bill after reports earlier this year that the Trump administration raised the prospect of resuming nuclear testing as a negotiating tactic against Moscow and Beijing.

The Trump administration is seeking a trilateral nuclear agreement with Russia and China to replace the expiring bilateral New START nuclear treaty with Russia. But Beijing has repeatedly rejected the administration’s invitation to join nuclear talks.

The Washington Post first reported in May that the idea of conducting the United States’s first nuclear test in decades was raised at a May 15 meeting of senior officials. One official told the Post the idea for a test is “very much an ongoing conversation,” while another official said a decision was made to avoid resuming testing.

The United States has not conducted an explosive nuclear test since 1992, checking the efficacy and reliability of its weapons instead with subcritical tests that produce no nuclear yield, computer simulations and other scientific methods.

The only country known to have conducted a nuclear test this century is North Korea.

The Trump administration, without evidence, has also in recent months accused Russia and China of conducting very low-yield tests.

Opponents of resuming nuclear testing, including Democrats and arms control advocates, argue a U.S. test would trigger nuclear testing by other countries and open the door to an arms race. An explosive would also be detrimental to human health and the environment without providing any benefits to studying the U.S. nuclear arsenal, they argue.

Last month, top House Democrats, including Lowey, sent a letter to the Pentagon and Energy Department calling the idea of conducting a nuclear test “unfathomable.”

The Senate’s version of a defense policy bill, meanwhile, would back preparations for a nuclear test.

An amendment to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act offered by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) would make at least $10 million available to “carry out projects related to reducing the time required to execute a nuclear test if necessary.” The amendment was approved in a party line 14-13 vote last month.

The Growing Threat of World War 3 (Revelation 16)

World War 3 warning: Trump’s nuclear threat is major ‘flashpoint’ with Russia – top expert

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s threats to move nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland would represent a major flashpoint with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, if the move went ahead, a defence expert has warned.

By CIARAN MCGRATH

PUBLISHED: 14:26, Sun, Jul 5, 2020

Mr Trump has already pulled 9,500 troops out of Germany after accusing the country, led by Angela Merkel, of being “delinquent” in its payments to NATO. Georgette Mosbacher, US Ambassador to Poland, hinted Mr Trump could go even further, saying of nuclear missiles currently stationed in Germany: “Perhaps Poland, which pays its fair share, understands the risks and is on NATO’s Eastern Flank, could house the capabilities.”

Such a move would be highly controversial, given Poland was once a part of the USSR-dominated Eastern bloc.

Marion Messmer, co-director of the British and American Information and Security Council (BASIC) has outlined her concerns in a new report entitled Strategic Risk Reduction in the European Context, in which she considers the renewed risk of conflict in Europe.

She told Express.co.uk: “If the Trump administration’s threat of removing nuclear weapons from Germany and moving them to Poland happens, this would be a big escalation with regards to Europe and Russia, as it would be a violation of the Russia NATO Founding Act.

Moving weapons to Poland would be problematic, Ms Messmer warned (Image: GETTY)

Ms Messmer added: “At this point in time, I would estimate the risk of escalation to be more likely to come from inadvertent or unfortunate Western signalling where internal tensions and external messaging get mixed up (as in my example about moving US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland) whereas it seems that Russia is going to stay well away of any NATO member states.”

Recent history has derailed Russia’s relations with the West, Ms Messmer said.

She explained: “Russia is a neighbour and the political relationship with Russia, having been largely positive from 1990-2008ish, deteriorated sharply with the war in Georgia in 2008, then recovered again to take another nosedive in 2014 with the Crimea crisis.

“In a way, European states and institutions like NATO are still adjusting to this new reality and trying to figure out how to respond to it.

This is the context in which our risk reduction project came about.”

The tense situation between both Russia and China on the one hand, and the West on the other, is sometimes described as Cold War 2.0.

Ms Messmer said: “The relationship between Russia and Europe and Russia and the US is probably as strained as it’s ever been since the end of the Cold War – and it won’t be an easy fix.”

Potential World War 3 flashpoints (Image: Express)

However, she added: “I don’t think that Cold War 2.0 is quite the right description, for two reasons: we are missing the ideological clash and the arms racing dynamics which were huge components of the Cold War.

“And in a way, the current dynamics are a way of path dependency where not enough effort was made after the end of the Cold War to transform the relationship between Russia and the Western states.”

With respect to China, whose increasing belligerence on the world stage has added a further complicating factor, there are suggestions future treaties aimed at cutting nuclear weapons must factor in Beijing.

Ms Messmer said “That is certainly how the Trump administration sees it.

“However, there is no real reason as to why China needs to engage in arms control at the moment as the US and Russia still have vastly higher arsenal numbers, and the arms control treaties which have broken down over the past two years have all been bilateral US-Russia treaties.

“Chinese arsenal numbers are much closer to France in all estimations – but China and France are not locked in an arms race dynamic, whereas the US and Russia could slide back into this dynamic.

“If the Trump administration keeps insisting on trilateral arms control without a good solution as to why China ought to engage and what it would get out of any arms control agreement, this will in effect block any possibility of reviving arms control at this point.”

Two Rockets Fired From Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Two rockets fired from Gaza at Israel: Army

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets at neighbouring Israel on Sunday, the Israeli army said, but there was no immediate indication of where they fell.

“Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory,” said a brief military WhatsApp message that did not elaborate.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Warning sirens sounded in southern Israel but media said that the Iron Dome missile defence system was not activated, implying that the rockets were not headed for populated areas.

Hamas warned Israel in late June that its planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank amounted to a “declaration of war”.

The following day two rockets were fired at the Jewish state from Gaza, triggering a punitive Israeli air raid on Hamas installations in the Palestinian enclave.

On July 1, Hamas fired a volley of rockets into the sea as a warning to Israel not to go ahead with annexation, sources in the Islamist organisation told AFP.

Israel’s proposal to annex its settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley forms part of a broader US peace plan released in January.

The proposals foresee the ultimate creation of a Palestinian state on the remaining West Bank territory and the Gaza Strip.

But the plan falls far short of Palestinian aspirations, with a state on reduced territory and without east Jerusalem as its capital.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars in recent years, with the latest conflict in 2014 killing 2,251 Palestinians and 74 people on the Israeli side.

Iran Remains Defiant Despite Israel’s Malfeasance

Official: Iran to Build Bigger Building to Replace Damaged One at Natanz Uranium Enrichment Site

On 2 July, the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) said there was an incident during construction work at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the central province of Isfahan, which damaged one of the awnings under construction.

Iran will construct a bigger building with more advanced equipment to replace the damaged building at the Natanz uranium enrichment site, Behrooz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said in a statement.

According to the spokesman, cited by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the incident at Natanz could slow down Tehran’s development and the production of advanced centrifuges in the mid-term. He also added that the incident had caused significant damage to the facility.

The statement comes after the Natanz uranium enrichment plant experienced an incident during construction work. However, the cause of the incident remains unknown. Prior to the incident, the AEOI confirmed media reports that it had stopped an IAEA inspector from examining the Natanz plant. According to the AEOI, the security monitoring equipment at the facility’s entrance had shown the presence of suspicious materials among the inspector’s belongings.

© REUTERS / WANA NEWS AGENCY

Explosion in Iran’s Natanz Nuclear Facility Caused by Bomb, Report Claims

Tehran announced the gradual reduction of its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) obligations on 8 May 2019, which marked the first anniversary of the US’ unilateral pullout from the 2015 pact. The Iranian authorities then said that the country would start abandoning some parts of its nuclear commitments every 60 days unless the European signatories ensured Iran’s interests amid Washington’s reinstated sanctions. 

Under the JCPOA, Iran is obliged to repurpose its Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant as a centre for the production of stable isotopes, refraining from enriching uranium and leaving Natanz as the only uranium enrichment facility.

Iraqi PM Opens Baghdad Hospital Established by Antichrist’s Men

Iraqi PM opens Baghdad hospital established by Shiite militia

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Sunday opened a hospital for COVID-19 patients established by a Shiite militia linked to the deaths of hundreds of people in anti-government protests. 

Kadhimi’s media office announced that the PM officially opened al-Ataa hospital, which was converted from militia headquarters to a medical facility by Saraya al-Salam, a militia headed by the prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The hospital is in Sadr city, formerly known as Al-Thawra, a suburb northeast of Baghdad.

“Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi opened al-Ataa Hospital in Sadr City for patients infected with corona, which was established by Saraya al-Salam brigades in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Environment,” the PM’s media office tweeted on Sunday.

Saraya al-Salam, or “Peace Brigades,” is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, a network of predominantly Shiite Muslim militias formed in 2014 to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).

The group is  accused of torturing and killing Iraqi protesters in the wave of demonstrations that started in October 2019.

In another tweet, Kadhimi thanked Saraya al-Salam and Muqtada al-Sadr for their efforts in converting one of their headquarters into the hospital.

“Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi appreciates the efforts of Saraya al-Salam for establishing a hospital to provide services for the public, and thanked his eminence Muqtada al-Sadr,” the tweet read.

The government-funded Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) released a statement on Sunday commending the militia for its “humanitarian work.”

“The IHCHR has appreciated the great humanitarian role played by Saraya Al-Salam through Mercy Campaign to support poor families  during the Corona pandemic, as well as its humanitarian work to convert the headquarters of Saraya Al-Salam and equip it with the latest medical equipment,” the statement read.

Iraq continues to record thousands of new COVID-19 cases a day, with 2,125 new infections announced on Sunday.

Iraqi protesters first took to the streets of Baghdad and the mainly Shiite-majority provinces of the south in October 2019 to protest against rampant corruption and the political system.

They have been met with deadly violence, including live ammunition and military grade tear gas canisters. More than 600 protesters died and at least 18,000 were injured, according to Amnesty International.

“We promised that those involved in [spilling] the blood of Iraqis will not sleep at night. We will keep this promise. Peaceful protest is a common obligation and everyone should follow it,” the PM said in May.

The opening of al-Ataa hospital comes at a time when pro-militia coalitions and political parties have accused Kadhimi of being against the PMF.

The accusations came after Kadhimi ordered the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (ICTS) to raid the headquarters of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, part of the PMF, in Baghdad on June  26. At least 14 fighters were detained in relation to recent rocket attacks in Baghdad, the Iraqi Joint Operation Command announced.

Following the raid, senior Kataib Hezbollah commander Abu Ali al-Askari issued a scathing attack on Kadhimi, who is also commander-in-chief of Iraq’s armed forces, for what he claimed was carrying out US bidding.

“Kadhimi once again followed his American master’s orders, and implemented another plan of theirs in Iraq, after he was involved in the assassination of the two martyrs [Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis], while the fighters of the Hashd immediately gathered and released their fellow fighters in custody,” Askari published on his official Telegram channel on Friday.

One day after the raid, Secretary General of Iran-backed militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Qais al-Khazali accused Kadhimi of following western agendas to target the PMF.

“A piece of advice for Kadhimi, do not stand against the PMF fighters, as they have the support of the people,” Khazali said on June 27.

Were Iran blasts triggered by ‘Son of Israel’?

Were Iran blasts triggered by ‘Son of Stuxnet’?

Possible cyberattack using computer worm malware may have killed 18 people at a nuclear facility outside of Tehran

by Stephen Bryen July 5, 2020

Firemen search for survivors at the scene of an explosion at the Sina At’har health centre north of Tehran on June 30, 2020. The powerful blast killed more than a dozen people, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported. Photo: Amir Kholousi / ISNA / AFP

Five recent explosions in Iran may have been caused by computer viruses similar to the Stuxnet virus that disabled Iranian centrifuges in 2010.

Two of the blasts took place at power plants, one at a missile research, development and production site, one at a new uranium enrichment centrifuge center, and the last (if it can be considered part of the attacks) in downtown Tehran at a medical facility that could have been a cover for nuclear operations such as a hidden command center.

Iran says that the Shiraz Power Plant facility was hit by a cyberattack, which poses the question: were the blasts caused by “the son of Stuxnet?” Stuxnet was a computer virus used to attack Iranian centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility in September 2010.