We typically don’t think of New York state for having earthquakes, but they certainly are capable of having them.
Upon my own investigation, there does appear to be an existing fault line right nearby where the quake happened that may have contributed to the light tremor, but it is not confirmed by official sources.
The Clarendon-Linden fault line consists of a major series of faults that runs from Lake Ontario to Allegany county, that are said to be responsible for much of the seismic activity that occurs in the region. It is a north-south oriented fault system that displays both strike-slip and dip-slip motion.
This fault is actively known for minor quakes, but is said to not be a large threat to the area. According to Genesee county, researchers have identified many potential fault lines both to the east, and to the west of the Clarendon-Linden Fault.
According to the University at Buffalo, they have proof that upstate New York is criss-crossed by fault lines. Through remote sensing by satellite and planes, a research group found that “there are hundreds of faults throughout the Appalachian Plateau, some of which may have been seismically active — albeit sporadically — since Precambrian times, about 1 billion years ago.”
The state of New York averages about a handful of minor earthquakes every year. In Western New York in December of 2019, a 2.1 earthquake occurred near Sodus Point over Lake Ontario, and in March of 2016, a 2.1 earthquake occurred near Attica in Genesee county.
For an interactive map of recent earthquakes from the USGS click HERE.
~Meteorologist Christine Gregory
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
JOHN RUWITCH, BYLINE: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP for short, has been around since 2007. And for a time, it wreaked havoc, killing tens of thousands in suicide bombings and shootings in its quest to establish Sharia law in Pakistan. The violence culminated in this horrific scene at a school in December 2014.
RUWITCH: The attack, heard here in a news report from Pakistan’s SAMAA TV, left around 150 people dead. Most were children. It hardened the Pakistani government’s resolve to go after the TTP, says Madiha Afzal, an expert on extremism in Pakistan at the Brookings Institution.
MADIHA AFZAL: Once the Pakistani military decided to take action against it, it was able to, to a great degree, at least drive it out of the tribal areas.
RUWITCH: Over the next few years, she says, the number of attacks fell, but the TTP was not gone. Its foot soldiers and commanders had melted away or slipped across the notoriously porous border.
AFZAL: Many of them, turns out, were in prison in Afghanistan.
RUWITCH: When the Afghan Taliban seized power in August, it freed thousands of prisoners, including senior members of the TTP. Mohsin Dawar represents North Waziristan in Pakistan’s parliament. It’s in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and has seen a number of attacks by the TTP in recent weeks.
MOHSIN DAWAR: So they are back with more strength, and they are regrouping. They have got immense ideological and moral strength after the collapse of Kabul.
RUWITCH: According to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, there have been more than a hundred attacks nationwide this year by the TTP. More than half have happened since the start of July. Mohsin Dawar says this is what blowback looks like. Years of support from the Pakistani government for militant groups in Afghanistan was bound to spill back over the border.
DAWAR: The policymakers of Pakistan, specifically the military general – they have brought the country to the point from where I think it is almost impossible to retreat.
RUWITCH: Javed Ashraf Qazi is more optimistic. He once ran Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency. It played a key role in creating and supporting the Afghan Taliban. He thinks the uptick in attacks is not particularly worrisome yet. The army is hitting the TTP where they operate here, and the Afghan Taliban will eventually go after those taking refuge across the border, he says.
JAVED ASHRAF QAZI: We have told the Taliban that our friendship will depend on your not allowing TTP any action in Pakistan. And they promise that they will take care of it.
RUWITCH: That may be wishful thinking, but even so, it’s not just a question of tackling violent extremists. Abdul Majeed Hazarvi (ph) is the local emir of the Assembly of Islamic Clerics, a religious political party. He says when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan, people he knows said special prayers of thanks. And some handed out sweets.
ABDUL MAJEED HAZARVI: (Through interpreter) Naturally, it is a happy moment because we are a religious party, and we are struggling to establish the law of Allah in Pakistan.
RUWITCH: Armed struggle is not the answer in Pakistan, he says. But anyone who is religious should be happy about the Afghan Taliban’s victory. His party and other right-wing religious parties who have traditionally fared poorly in elections are gaining attention and traction. That’s concerning, says Amir Rana, a security analyst at the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies.
AMIR RANA: In my view, biggest challenge is extremism.
RUWITCH: The Taliban victory emboldens religious hardliners across the board, and the government doesn’t have its eye on the ball, he says.
RANA: Pakistan focus is always remain on countering terrorism. And they pay less attention on countering extremism. And this is, in my view, going to create a big challenge for Pakistan in coming months and years.
RUWITCH: He thinks far-right religious parties may make fresh gains in upcoming elections, and that could eventually lead to stricter religious regulations in Pakistan – a nuclear armed republic that’s nominally Islamic but has strong secular traditions. Even if the religious parties don’t make big gains, Rana says they’ll still be in a much better position to pile pressure on the authorities. John Ruwitch, NPR News, Islamabad.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
“Over the last 20 years, heavy spending went to lightly armored vehicles, body armor, tactical and short-range reconnaissance systems, and short-range transport helicopters,” says Aboulafia. “Little was spent on the kind of strategic tools that make a great power great.”
As Aboulafia states, the equipment used to fight terror in countries like Afghanistan, such as aging Black Hawk helicopters, are not the kind of weapons the US would need in a match against superpower China.
With an adversary like China, the US will need weapons such as the nuclear-powered submarines that will be built under the recent agreement by the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
“They have much greater ranges, firepower, and, most of all, survivability,” writes Aboulafia. “Tracking submarines is something of a black art—one Beijing has very little experience in and very little dedicated equipment to accomplish.”
But after decades of focusing resources in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as the tension between the US and growing China intensifies, with many fearing it could lead to war, the US “is not particularly well prepared for a confrontation with a strong and growing possible adversary.”
However, Aboulafia offers some hope, adding that since the US’ attention is shifting away from terrorism, “the defense budget is again focusing on the systems that make the United States a great power” such as high-tech weapons and the technology base for creating new systems.
This analysis comes as president Biden is scheduled to join a virtual meeting with Xi Jinping on Monday.
“The two leaders will discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition … as well as ways to work together where our interests align,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement cited by Reuters.
“President Biden will make clear U.S. intentions and priorities and be clear and candid about our concerns.”
A senior U.S. official added: “As we compete with the PRC, President Biden expects President Xi and the PRC to play by the rules of road—and he will make that point throughout the meeting.”
China tests underwater missiles in terrifying new military video
The report reiterated the Pentagon’s concerns about China’s increasing its pressure on Taiwan, reports The HK Post.
In its wide-ranging annual report to Congress on China’s military, the Pentagon did not say how many weapons China has now, but a year ago it said the number was in the “low 200s” and was likely to double by the end of this decade, the report said.
In the report, the Pentagon also reiterated concerns about increasing pressure on Taiwan, an island China sees as a breakaway province, and China’s chemical and biological programs and technological advancements, reports The HK Post.
“Over the next decade, the PRC aims to modernise, diversify, and expand its nuclear forces,” the report said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani reiterate Washington and Doha’s commitment to that two-state solution and to “improving humanitarian and economic conditions for all” in the Palestinian territories.
The United States and Qatar said on Saturday that they remain committed to working together to “improve humanitarian and economic conditions for all” in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, noting that they were “deeply concerned” by the situation in the Palestinian territories.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met in Washington on Friday for the fourth annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue summit.
According to the State Department, the two discussed “a range of regional and global affairs” including security cooperation, labor, and human rights, health and humanitarian assistance, and recent events in Afghanistan.
In a joint statement, Blinken and al-Thani reiterated “the importance of achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Commenting on the situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority governed West Bank, the two top diplomats said that their countries “remain deeply concerned” and “will continue to work together to improve humanitarian and economic conditions for all, and discussed the importance of achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Qatar, a major Hamas backer, has pledged some $360 million for Gaza’s reconstruction following the Islamist terrorist groups’ last conflict with Israel in May.
The Gulf energy-rich state has funneled some $1 billion into Gaza since 2012. Since 2018, it has been providing Hamas with monthly payments averaging $20 million, essentially covering Hamas salaries for its civil servants and providing a monthly $100 stipends to scores of impoverished families.
As part of Blinken and al-Thani’s meeting, Qatar also agreed to represent the US in Taliban-run Afghanistan in the wake of the shuttering of the American Embassy in Kabul following the Taliban’s takeover of the country in late August.
The two said Qatar will serve as the US “protecting power” in Afghanistan, meaning Doha set up a US “interests section” within its own embassy in Kabul to handle consular services for American citizens in Afghanistan and liaise between Washington and the Taliban government.
The US has numerous protecting power arrangements in countries where it does not have a diplomatic presence. Those notably include Switzerland in Iran, Sweden in North Korea and the Czech Republic in Syria.
As Iran speeds up progress on uranium enrichment, Israel bolsters its own military strike contingencies. But experts warn that nuclear weapons would make Iran feel immune enough to destabilize the Middle East with even greater intensity, as it would free it from having to worry about US retaliation.
Recent years have seen the IAF focus on its ability to strike regional Iranian entrenchment activities, particularly in Syria, as well as prepare attack plans against Hezbollah in Lebanon based on the concept of unleashing of thousands of guided munitions per day, while also engaging in frequent Gaza escalations. Now, however, the IAF’s planners have set their sights on targets Iranian soil.
Iran’s nuclear sites – the most famous of which are the Natanz and Fordow uranium enrichment sites – are not only far away but also heavily fortified by advanced air-defense systems. In Fordow’s case, the facility is built deep inside a mountain.
But it’s not yet clear whether those talks will lead to an actual agreement. Even if they do, a return to the 2015 nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – would represent a very poor development for the region due to its short-term sunset clauses built into the arrangement, which would soon expire and pave the path for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state with full international legitimacy.
A better, longer deal does not seem to be on the table at this stage.
While Iran appears to have frozen parts of its nuclear infrastructure that it would need to break through to the nuclear weapon – developing an explosive mechanism and working to place that mechanism on a missile warhead – it has made alarming progress on the most challenging aspect of building a nuclear weapon: amassing sufficient fissile material.
Israel’s sped-up military preparations are therefore a direct reflection of Iran’s own speeding up of its nuclear program. Iran enriched more than 120 kilograms of uranium to the 20 percent level in October, according to the IAEA – a major jump from the 84 kilograms that Iran had previously enriched a month earlier. Iran is also openly enriching other, albeit smaller quantities of uranium to the 60 percent level, something no non-nuclear state would do.
Assessments of how long Iran would need to break through to an actual weapon range from between 18 months to two years. That’s not a long time in strategic terms.
Negotiations in Vienna over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the existing Iran nuclear deal, May 2021. Source: Enrique Mora/European External Action Service/Twitter. ‘We are working on these things’
The original 2015 nuclear deal, despite its many holes, did temporarily delay Iran’s nuclear progress, allowing the IAF to invest its resources in other missions and plans.
In 2018, after the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear deal and placed crippling sanctions on Iran, Tehran faced severe economic crises. Nevertheless, the regime began speeding up its uranium-enrichment activities in order to, as former Israeli National Security Adviser Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror put it, “make clear to the world what the cost of the US’s exit from the agreement will be.”
Now, as the Biden administration seeks to draw Iran back to that very same deal, any delay that the JCPOA would cause Iran’s nuclear program would be very short-lived. Alternatively, Iran, which has found new ways to export its oil around the world and ways to survive sanctions, could be tempted to do away with any return to an agreement and secure its status as a breakout state instead.
One must hope, therefore, that the United States and Israel are quietly hammering out a side deal between them that would stipulate what actions would be taken if Iran approaches the breakout zone, in addition to ensuring that no one gets in Israel’s way should the hour arise for confrontation.
When IAF planners look at the challenge of reaching Iran, they must consider an enormous undertaking, requiring the most detailed planning, intelligence, ammunition selections, aerial platforms and refueling capabilities. There is no resemblance between such an operation and a short-range operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Such preparations take considerable time.
Israel’s defense establishment is increasingly vocal about those preparations. In September, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, told Walla news: “We have greatly sped up our preparations for activities in Iran.”
He added that a “substantial part of the enlarged defense budget, as just recently summarized, is earmarked for this. This is highly complex work, requiring a great deal of intelligence and many operational capabilities. It requires many more ammunitions. We are working on these things.”
These comments reflect the true scope of the force build-up program needed specifically for a strike mission on Iran’s nuclear program. They also suggest that whatever plans the IAF had in place for such a mission in 2021 will be different from the plans that will be put in place in 2022.
Such strategizing, in and of itself, isn’t new. Israel first began developing its military capabilities for stopping Iran’s nuclear program in 2004 – hasn’t stopped. As time goes by, the chances of Israel needing to deploy these capabilities appear to have risen, even if there is no immediate trigger for such action tomorrow.https://ecdn.firstimpression.io/static/html/obd_banner.html
The year 2022, with Iran’s progress, and pending decision on whether or not to engage in diplomacy could prove to be a critical junction.
Iran’s Shiite proxies in Syria and Iraq could also join the fray after an attack, setting the scene for a major Mideast war. Such a scenario is not inevitable and the nature of warfare is unpredictable, but it must be factored into any strike contingency.
The enlarged Israeli defense budget for the year 2021 – some 62.3 billion shekels (and 60 billion shekels for 2022) – represents a sizable increase from 2020’s 57.5 billion shekels expenditure on defense.
Ultimately, it is vital that Iran understands that a military option is on the table, and since the American strategic focus has clearly shifted to the Far East, it falls to Israel to carry out this function.
In the past, Iran has taken military threats to its nuclear sites seriously, as is visible in the length that the Islamic Republic has gone to in protecting its nuclear infrastructure with air-defense systems and installing parts of it underground.
In 2003, when Iran saw American forces on its borders in Afghanistan and Iraq, it froze its nuclear program to avoid military action. Today, however, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, does not appear to be taking military threats from anyone very seriously.
The placing of a credible and imminent military threat is therefore critical at this junction.
For Israel, this means also having to be ready for the full-scale conflict that could follow with Iran’s proxies such a strike.
Plans by Israel to unleash devastating firepower on Hezbollah – combined with a rapid ground offensive – would mean that it would take Lebanon years to recover from such a war.
The timing of these potential scenarios is not around the corner, but their relevancy is growing with time.
At the tactical level, it appears as if Israel’s growing fleet of F-35 fighter jets will have leading roles in such scenarios with their stealth capabilities, and ability to infiltrate deep into enemy air space and gather enormous amounts of intelligence, which can be sent back to fourth-generation F-15 and F-16 fighter jets to attack.
In some ways, the IAF is still coming to terms with the full range of capabilities possessed by the F-35 and how these can be combined with roles for F-16 and F-15 jets, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
There are some who question whether it is even possible to really stop Iran on its patient, calculated nuclear march. Some argue that even if Iran becomes armed with nuclear weapons, it would not use them against Israel, and that the threat of retaliation and global reaction would kick in.
Such arguments are effectively dealt with by an examination of Iran’s likely strategy once it becomes nuclear; this would probably center on providing a nuclear umbrella for its ever-more confident proxies in the Middle East.
As Amidror, the former national security adviser, recently stated in a paper for the IDF’s Dado think tank, “even if the Iranians do not use nuclear weapons to destroy Israel,” the nuclear umbrella in their possession “would make it easier for them to realize their dream of regional hegemony and beyond. With nuclear weapons in their hands, they could act against regional states, foremost among them, Israel, with far less concern regarding possible responses. It is fair to assume that they believe that when they possess nuclear weapons, Israel, too, will be deterred from acting against Iranian interests, even if Iran’s efforts will go towards nourishing the stranglehold mechanism that they wish to place around the Jewish state in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.”
Amidror warned that nuclear weapons would make Iran feel immune enough to destabilize the Middle East with much greater intensity than it does today, without having to worry about American retaliation or the threat of a Libya-style war for regime change.
A small earthquake rattled parts of Berks County on Friday night, the second one of the day and third in a week.
The 2.1 magnitude tremor registered just west of Sinking Spring at 10:47 p.m. Friday, according to the National Earthquake Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was 1.8 miles deep. The center said about 150 people reported feeling the quake. It’s the same area where a 1.7-magnitude quake was recorded about 1:40 p.m. on Sunday.ADVERTISEMENThttps://5762b12d0eff67faec8fda95a88d1973.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Earlier Friday, a 1.6 magnitude earthquake was recorded near Leesport around 2 a.m.
Generally, quakes with a magnitude of less than 3 aren’t felt, unless they are especially close to the surface.ADVERTISEMENThttps://5762b12d0eff67faec8fda95a88d1973.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Pennsylvania’s worst earthquake was in 1998 in the northwestern part of the state. The 5.2-magnitude tremor caused minor structural damage but had significant effects on the local groundwater system.
A 5.8-magnitude Virginia earthquake in 2011 was widely felt in Pennsylvania, though damage here was minor. It was the largest quake in the central and eastern United States since 1944. Smaller earthquakes with epicenters in adjoining states have also been felt in Pennsylvania