THE SIXTH SEAL: NEW YORK CITY (REV 6:12)

Earthquake activity in the New York City area

WikipediaAlthough the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island.The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5.For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.

Background

The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

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 YorkNew 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.

The Nuclear Horns Grow in Asia: Daniel

Asia’s growing missile arsenals demand a response

Brad Glosserman

Apr 6, 2021

CARTOONARTS INTERNATIONAL

Missiles are everywhere. Increasingly accurate technology combined with a plummeting cost curve have made missiles the weapon of choice for defense ministries around the world. Historically, however, missiles have been an afterthought when governments weigh arms control options. That indifference must end: It is time for a real push to rein in the spread of such weapons, especially in Asia.

In a 2020 report, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Ballistic Missile Analysis Committee bluntly explained the logic behind missile proliferation: They’re viewed “as cost-effective weapons and symbols of national power.” The technology has become so cheap that it’s hard to find a defense establishment that doesn’t have its own inventory and the number of countries building indigenous production capabilities is expanding as well. Ominously, arsenals aren’t just growing but missiles themselves are becoming more capable — faster, more mobile, survivable, reliable, and accurate while traveling ever longer distances.

Considerable attention is paid to North Korea’s growing arsenal and its modernization efforts –Japan is threatened by a widening array of missiles and the U.S. homeland can now be hit, too — as well as that of China. The CSIS Missile Defense Project credits China with “the most active and diverse missile development program in the world.” Worryingly, its researchers conclude that Beijing’s missile modernization efforts “degrade the survivability of foundational elements of American power projection like the aircraft carrier and forward air bases.”

India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed neighbors and adversaries, continue to update their missile inventories, and while Southeast Asian nations have abjured the nuclear capability of those two rivals, they are expanding their missile arsenals as well. The Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have expressed interest in acquiring a supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia. And Hanoi last year unveiled a locally produced cruise missile (made under license from Russia).

Australia announced last year that it planned to acquire long-range missiles, a decision that Japan continues to debate. South Korea has increased the range and payload size of its missile systems (with U.S. agreement), and Taiwan, after getting Trump administration approval to buy new U.S. missiles, endorsed the acquisition of strike capabilities in its newest Quadrennial Defense Review, released just last month. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Mike Esper described the situation well in 2019 when he said that missile threats are “growing disproportionately to other capabilities” and “writ large, the rest of the world is not developing new fighter and bomber aircraft; they are developing missiles.” Nothing has changed since then.

Despite this proliferation — or perhaps because of it — missiles have not been a focus of arms control efforts. Negotiations have addressed payloads — not delivery systems -— most notably whether warheads carried nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

One of the few exceptions is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), established in the 1980s by Western governments to try to halt the proliferation of nuclear-capable delivery systems; it was supplemented by the 2002 Hague Code of Conduct, which provided a set of confidence-building measures. The proliferation of missiles is proof of the limits of the MTCR.

The only successful missile arms control effort was the 1987 U.S.–Soviet Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned cruise missiles, land-based ballistic missiles and missile launchers with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km. That deal collapsed in 2019 under the weight of charges that Russia was cheating and that it did not include China, whose vast missile inventories — 95% of which were asserted to fall under the terms of the treaty had it been a signatory — undermined the Asian military balance.

Trump administration officials insisted that new INF nuclear discussions would have to include China, a position that Beijing flatly rejected. In that case, those same U.S. officials reasoned, the U.S. should deploy its missiles among allies in the region. Those allies have been reluctant to do so, although debates about strike options in Tokyo, Canberra and Taipei indicate that the problem is not a divergence in threat perceptions.

Defense officials argue that missiles are needed to deter. But missile proliferation is dangerous, especially as those weapons become more capable. Greater accuracy will reduce collateral damage, lowering restraints on use. Higher speeds and the prospect of “use it or lose it” dilemmas will put a premium on quick decision-making. Increasing mobility and a need for dispersion (because of the above factors) will require ever-more robust command and control capabilities. All make escalation more likely.

Proliferation and the resulting rising dangers should put missiles high on the agenda of regional security conferences. That hasn’t happened. Notably, however, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, with support from the German government, launched in 2019 the Missile Dialogue Initiative (MDI) to focus attention on this issue. It has held two international conferences and published a series of papers that address elements of the missile proliferation problem.

David Santoro, a colleague who directs the nuclear policy program at Pacific Forum, my old home, and I last month authored a paper for the MDI, which, after providing considerably more depth and detail than is here, calls for an Asian missile initiative in which regional governments would discuss this problem, share perspectives and try to reach consensus on a set of norms and principles about missile developments and deployments.

While an arms control agreement would be ideal, it is too much to expect now. Confidence building measures are possible, however, although it will take considerable time to reach what many might consider common sense measures. Any agreement will likely be facilitated by the fact that we are proposing regional discussions — rather than a global conversation — in which participants will have more similar assumptions and outlooks (although differences even among them can be profound).

Our proposal is easy to criticize. Defining a ballistic missile is increasingly difficult. Identifying who belongs at even this smaller table will be a challenge. Some countries straddle regions — China, Russia, the United States — and even a subregional dialogue, which Santoro endorses, will be problematic.

North Korea must be invited, even if its refusal to participate is virtually ordained. A smart leadership in Pyongyang would take the chance to engage, however, both for the status benefits (a seat at the table) and the chance to get its views heard.

Getting China to the table will be a big challenge. Beijing resists all arms control proposals, wary of any obligation to provide transparency about its military. A dialogue about missiles sidesteps China’s loudest objection to nuclear arms talks: the claim that its nuclear arsenal is a fraction the size of that of the U.S. and Russia and those two superpowers must first come down to China’s level before it will join any negotiations. Missiles are one area in which it enjoys an advantage over regional adversaries so by its own logic China should be willing to talk, if not make cuts, but it’s far more likely that Beijing will be loath to discuss them, much less put them on the table.

Obstinacy makes sense when facing a limited missile threat. In a world of growing missile arsenals, however, one in which a good number of those proliferators might be targeting China, Beijing’s calculus may change. It’s a long shot, but one well worth trying.

Brad Glosserman is deputy director of and visiting professor at the Center for Rule-Making Strategies at Tama University as well as senior adviser (nonresident) at Pacific Forum. He is author of “Peak Japan: The End of Great Ambitions” (Georgetown University Press, 2019). His paper, with David Santoro, “Time for a reckoning: Missiles have flown under the radar for too long in Asia,” can be found here.

Babylon the Great test to launch ultra-fast hypersonic missile fails

US Air Force test to launch ultra-fast hypersonic missile fails

Tuesday, April 6th 2021, 11:25 AM EDT
Updated: 

The Increasing Russian Nuclear Threat

The Increasing Russian Nuclear Threat

Patty-Jane Geller

Report

April 6, 2021 3 min read Download Report

Summary

Despite the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START), Russia is able to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile both quantitatively and qualitatively. As Russia modernizes its nuclear forces and introduces new capabilities unconstrained by New START, the United States has just barely begun to modernize its aging legacy strategic systems. Russia is clearly seeking to gain a competitive nuclear advantage over the U.S. This is unacceptably dangerous. To ensure credible, direct, and extended nuclear deterrence against Russia, and to avoid crisis escalation to the nuclear level, the U.S. must complete its own nuclear modernization while engaging Russia diplomatically on strategic issues.

Key Takeaways

Russia is building up its nuclear forces—clearly seeking to gain a competitive and dangerous nuclear advantage over the United States.

While Russia modernizes its nuclear forces, most of America’s nuclear systems are between 40 years and 60 years old.

The United States must complete its own nuclear modernization while engaging Russia diplomatically on its nuclear forces.

The Increasing Russian Nuclear Threat Daren Bakst and Joshua SewellReviving the deeply flawed Iran nuclear deal would reward and empower a hostile dictatorship by lifting sanctions and squandering U.S. bargaining leverage. Iran never fully complied with the JCPOA and is currently in violation of it on several accounts. A much more restrictive agreement is necessary. A new agreement should include Iran’s ballistic missile program, disclosure of its past nuclear weapons efforts, and better protection for Israel and Arab allies.

The Issue

Russia relies heavily on nuclear weapons to offset its own perceived inferiority of its conventional forces in a conflict with the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Despite economic challenges, Russia is building up its nuclear forces, and in some areas could gain an advantage over the United States. As Russia modernizes its nuclear forces and introduces new capabilities limited by existing arms controls, the United States has just barely begun to modernize its aging legacy strategic systems. Most of America’s nuclear systems are between 40 years and 60 years old.

Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces Under New START

Russia’s strategic nuclear forces are limited by the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) with the United States, which the new Biden Administration extended until 2026. Unclassified sources estimate Russia’s strategic triad to consist of more than 300 silo and road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 10 nuclear-armed submarines, and 60 to 70 strategic bombers. According to New START counting rules, Russia currently deploys nearly 1,500 warheads—though that number is difficult to confirm. In fact, because Russia’s ICBMs can carry multiple warheads per missile, Russia has an “upload capacity” that allows it to quickly surge deployed warheads beyond New START’s limits. Russia has been modernizing its nuclear triad since 1998, and President Vladimir Putin announced in December 2020 that this modernization is approximately 86 percent complete. The effort includes fielding new ICBMs, building more advanced strategic submarines, and a completed overhaul of the strategic bomber fleet.

Russia’s New “Exotic” Nuclear Delivery Systems

In addition to modernizing existing nuclear capabilities, Russia is also developing six entirely new capabilities, without breaking New START terms.

• The maneuverable Avangard Hypersonic Boost-Glide Vehicle (HGV) is carried aboard an ICBM before being loosed at its target. It is meant to evade enemy missile defense systems.

The Sarmat Heavy ICBM can reportedly carry 10 to 15 nuclear warheads, or multiple Avangard HGVs, over the North Pole or South Pole to mainland U.S. targets.

The Poseidonis a nuclear-powered, underwater drone that could create a radioactive “tsunami” to strike U.S. coastal targets.

• The Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile offers unlimited range and second-strike capability.

• The Kinzhal air-launched, dual-capable hypersonic ballistic missile is a theater-range system that is already in service.

• The Tsirkon sea-launched, dual-capable hypersonic cruise missile is a threat to both sea and land targets.

While the Avangard and Sarmat systems are now counted, but not prohibited, under New START, the other weapons are not; all six have strategic stability implications.

Unconstrained, Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces

Russia has a stockpile of at least 2,000 non-strategic (low-yield) nuclear weapons (NSWs) that are unconstrained by any treaty, outnumbering U.S. NSWs by at least 10 to one. In 2019, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported that Russia’s stockpile is anticipated to grow even more. Russia operates dozens of dual-capable delivery systems, including short-range ballistic missiles, depth charges, torpedoes, land mines, artillery, and mortars. This disparity is particularly concerning because Russia’s recent nuclear doctrine indicates a lower threshold for use of nuclear weapons. According to the United States’ 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, Russia “mistakenly assesses that the threat of nuclear escalation or actual first use of nuclear weapons would serve to ‘de-escalate’ a conflict on terms favorable to Russia.”

Russia’s Nuclear Enterprise

Russia’s current nuclear enterprise is able to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile both quantitatively and qualitatively. A 2020 Government Accountability Office report notes that Russia has the world’s largest volume of bomb-making material. According to a 2019 Army War College estimate, in one year, Russia can produce between 1,000 and 3,000 plutonium pits for nuclear weapons modernization. In contrast, the U.S. has not had a plutonium-pit-production capability since the Cold War. According to the DIA Director in 2019, Russia is conducting low-yield nuclear tests that will allow it to improve its weapons capabilities, including developing new earth-penetrating warheads that can strike hardened targets. Meanwhile, the United States has adhered to a zero-yield testing standard since 1992 and has not entered a new nuclear weapon into service since 1989. Russia is clearly seeking to gain a competitive nuclear advantage over the U.S. This is unacceptably dangerous. To ensure credible, direct, and extended nuclear deterrence against Russia, and to avoid crisis escalation to the nuclear level, the United States must complete its own nuclear modernization while engaging Russia diplomatically on its nuclear forces.

Israeli navy targets Palestinian fishing boats outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli navy targets Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza coast

GAZA, Monday, April 05, 2021 (WAFA) – Israeli navy today targeted Palestinian fishing boats sailing off the northern Gaza coast forcing them to end their work and return to shore, according to WAFA correspondent.

He said the fishermen were sailing within the allowed three nautical miles when Israeli naval boats opened gunfire towards them.

The fishermen had to leave the water and abruptly end their fishing mission, which is their sole source of livelihood. No injuries were reported though.

Gaza, and its two million impoverished and devastated population, has been under a strict Israeli air, land and sea blockade since 2006, a year after Israel’s disengagement from the sea enclave, and suffered three devastating Israeli wars against it since then, the latest was in 2014, which destroyed its infrastructure, economy, and thousands of buildings.

K.F./M.K.

Iran arrests Israeli spies : Revelation 11

Iran says it has arrested spies for Israel, other nations

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian authorities arrested several people on charges of spying for Israel and other nations, state TV announced Monday.

An unnamed Intelligence Ministry official in the country’s eastern Azerbaijan province was quoted by state TV as saying that security forces had detained a group of people suspected of spying for Israel and other unspecified countries. The brief report did not provide further details on the nationalities of the suspects or provide evidence to support the espionage charges.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports anti-Israeli armed groups across the region, such as Lebanon’s Shiite militant Hezbollah group and Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Iran occasionally announces the detention of people it claims are foreign spies, including for the U.S. and Israel, without any further report on their fates.

Iran executed a man last year convicted of leaking information to the United States and Israel about prominent Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps general Qassem Soleimani, who was later killed by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq.

In 2019, Iran said it arrested 17 Iranians accused of spying on the country’s nuclear and military sites for the CIA and reported that some of them had been sentenced to death.

Iran’s 20% enriched uranium stockpile hits 50 kg:Daniel 8:4

Iran’s 20% enriched uranium stockpile hits 50 kg

Tehran, Apr 4 (IANS): The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said Tehran has produced 50 kg of the 20 per cent enriched uranium.

The 20 per cent uranium enrichment process has been launched as part of Iran’s Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions bill, which was approved by Parliament in December 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the bill, the AEOI should produce 120 kg of 20 per cent enriched uranium within a year after the implementation of the action plan which began on January 4, AEOI chief Ali-Akbar Salehi said on Saturday.

Iranian authorities have said a boost in uranium enrichment, along with other measures to reduce some commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is a reaction to the US withdrawal from the agreement.

“If there is an agreement and America returns to the JCPOA and Iran verifies that, Tehran can instantly stop 20 per cent enrichment and other expansions,” Salehi added.

The JCPOA was reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, the UK, Russia, France, China, plus Germany) and the EU.

Tehran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear weapons program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions.

Washington under former President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and tightened sanctions on Iran.

The US and Iran are at a standoff over reviving the nuclear deal.

The Joe Biden administration said that if Iran returns to full compliance with the JCPOA, the US would do the same.

But Iran insisted its compliance would only take place once US sanctions were removed.