By Meteorologist Dominic Ramunni Nationwide PUBLISHED 7:13 PM ET Aug. 11, 2020 PUBLISHED 7:13 PM EDT Aug. 11, 2020
People across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic were shaken, literally, on a Sunday morning as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in North Carolina on August 9, 2020.
Centered in Sparta, NC, the tremor knocked groceries off shelves and left many wondering just when the next big one could strike.
Compared to the West Coast, there are far fewer fault lines in the East. This is why earthquakes in the East are relatively uncommon and weaker in magnitude.
That said, earthquakes still occur in the East.
According to Spectrum News Meteorologist Matthew East, “Earthquakes have occurred in every eastern U.S. state, and a majority of states have recorded damaging earthquakes. However, they are pretty rare. For instance, the Sparta earthquake Sunday was the strongest in North Carolina in over 100 years.”
For example, across the Tennesse River Valley lies the New Madrid Fault Line. While much smaller in size than those found farther west, the fault has managed to produce several earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 in the last couple hundred years.
In 1886, an estimated magnitude 7.0 struck Charleston, South Carolina along a previously unknown seismic zone. Nearly the entire town had to be rebuilt.
The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.
These older rocks have had much more time to bond together with other rocks under the tremendous pressure of Earth’s crust. This allows seismic energy to transfer between rocks more efficiently during an earthquake, causing the shaking to be felt much further.
This is why, during the latest quake in North Carolina, impacts were felt not just across the state, but reports of shaking came as far as Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 300 miles away.
Reports of shaking from different earthquakes of similar magnitude.
Quakes in the East can also be more damaging to infrastructure than in the West. This is generally due to the older buildings found east. Architects in the early-to-mid 1900s simply were not accounting for earthquakes in their designs for cities along the East Coast.
When a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia in 2011, not only were numerous historical monuments in Washington, D.C. damaged, shaking was reported up and down the East Coast with tremors even reported in Canada.
There is no way to accurately predict when or where an earthquake may strike.
Some quakes will have a smaller earthquake precede the primary one. This is called a foreshock.
The problem is though, it’s difficult to say whether the foreshock is in fact a foreshock and not the primary earthquake. Only time will tell the difference.
The United State Geological Survey (USGS) is experimenting with early warning detection systems in the West Coast.
While this system cannot predict earthquakes before they occur, they can provide warning up to tens of seconds in advance that shaking is imminent. This could provide just enough time to find a secure location before the tremors begin.
Much like hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms, earthquakes are a natural occuring phenomenon that we can prepare for.
The USGS provides an abundance of resources on how to best stay safe when the earth starts to quake.
Demonstrators in Baghdad on New Year’s Day hold banners depicting a powerful Iranian general and a top Iraqi militia leader.(Khalid Mohammed / Associated Press)BY JON GAMBRELLASSOCIATED PRESSJAN. 3, 2022 UPDATED 7:43 AM PT
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —
Yemen’s Houthi rebels seized a ship in the Red Sea, armed drones targeted Baghdad’s international airport and hackers hit a major Israeli newspaper Monday — a string of assaults that showed the reach of Iran-allied militias on the second anniversary of the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general.
All three attacks coincided with a massive memorial in Tehran for Qassem Suleimani, the general killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2020 in Iraq. Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi demanded that former President Trump “be prosecuted and killed.”
“If not, I’m telling all American leaders, don’t doubt that the hand of revenge will come out of ummah’s sleeve,” Raisi said, referring to the worldwide community of Muslims.
Monday’s events highlight tensions in the Middle East, a region roiled by Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a deal aimed at limiting Tehran’s nuclear program. As talks continue in Vienna to try to resuscitate the accord, Iran remains able to apply pressure from outside the negotiations even as it is squeezed by U.S.-led sanctions and a shadow war with Israel.ADVERTISEMENTnullnull
The taking of the Emirati ship Rwabee marks the latest assault in the Red Sea, a crucial route for international trade and energy shipments. The Iranian-backed Houthis acknowledged the seizure off the coast of Hodeida, a long-contested prize of the grinding war in Yemen between the rebels and a Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates.
First word of the Rwabee’s seizure came from the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which said only that an attack had targeted an unnamed vessel around midnight. The coordinates it offered corresponded to the Rwabee, which has rarely given its location via tracking data in recent months, unlike most commercial traffic in the region, according to the website MarineTraffic.com.
A statement from the Saudi-led coalition, carried by state media in the oil-rich kingdom, acknowledged the attack on the Rwabee hours later, saying the rebels had committed an act of “armed piracy” involving the vessel. The coalition asserted that the ship carried medical equipment from a dismantled Saudi field hospital on the distant island of Socotra, without offering evidence.
“The Houthi militia must immediately release the ship. Otherwise, the coalition forces shall take all necessary measures and procedures to deal with this violation, including the use of force,” Brig. Gen. Turki Malki said in a statement.
The Houthis later aired footage from the Rwabee on their Al-Masirah satellite news channel. It showed military-style inflatable rafts, trucks and other vehicles on the vessel, a landing craft that lowers a ramp to allow equipment to roll on and off. One brief clip showed what appeared to be a collection of rifles inside a container.
“It is completely obvious today that the information that this ship was carrying a civilian field hospital is not correct,” said Yahia Sarei, a Houthi militia spokesman. “This is clearly military equipment.”
Saudi state television later alleged that the Houthis wanted to transfer weapons onto the ship.
An employee at the vessel’s owner, Abu Dhabi-based Liwa Marine Services, told the Associated Press that the Rwabee appeared to have been the target but said the company had no other information.
A similar assault happened in 2016 involving the Emirati vessel SWIFT-1, which had been sailing back and forth in the Red Sea between Yemen and an Emirati troop base in Eritrea. That vessel came under attack by Houthi forces. The Emirati government said the SWIFT-1 carried humanitarian aid; United Nations experts later said they were “unconvinced of [the claim’s] veracity.”
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the hacking of the Jerusalem Post’s website. The hackers replaced the English-language newspaper’s homepage with an image depicting a missile coming from a fist bearing a ring long associated with Suleimani.
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The image also depicted an exploding target used during a recent Iranian military drill that was designed to look like the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, near the city of Dimona. The facility is home to decades-old underground laboratories that re-process the reactor’s spent rods to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel’s nuclear bomb program.
In a tweet, the Post acknowledged being the target of hackers. ADVERTISEMENThttps://33b9cfcaae4609ac6be4e4b47b6aca17.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“We are aware of the apparent hacking of our website, alongside a direct threat to Israel,” the newspaper wrote. “We are working to resolve the issue & thank readers for your patience and understanding.”
The newspaper later restored its website. It noted that Iran-supporting hackers previously targeted its homepage in 2020.
The hack came after Israel’s former military intelligence chief in late December publicly acknowledged that his country was involved in Suleimani’s killing. The U.S. drone killed Suleimani as he was leaving Baghdad’s international airport.ADVERTISEMENTnull
In Iraq on Monday, troops shot down two so-called suicide drones at the Baghdad airport, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. No group immediately claimed the attack, though one of the drones’ wings had the words “Suleimani’s revenge” painted on it in Arabic. Militias backed by Iran have been suspected in similar assaults. No injuries or damage were reported.
As the head of the Quds, or Jerusalem, Force of the Revolutionary Guard, Suleimani led all of its expeditionary forcesand frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Quds Force members have been deployed to Syria to support President Bashar Assad in the long civil war there, and also to Iraq in the wake of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, a longtime foe of Tehran.
Suleimani rose to prominence by advising forces fighting Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria, on behalf of Assad.
U.S. officials say that, under Suleimani, the Revolutionary Guard taught Iraqi militants how to manufacture and use especially deadly roadside bombs against U.S. troops. Iran has denied that.
Illustrative: Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists into Israel, in Gaza May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
The Israeli Air Force on Sunday said it struck a rocket manufacturing site and military posts belonging to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, after two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed off the Tel Aviv coast on Saturday morning.
Hamas claimed in a message relayed by Egyptian intermediaries that the rockets went off inadvertently due to bad weather conditions, according to Israel’s Kan News.
“All of Hamas’ stories about lightning and thunder, that repeat themselves winter after winter — are no longer relevant,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “Those who aim missiles towards the State of Israel will bear the responsibility.”
Gaza’s ruling faction Hamas is being held to account, Kan reported, though the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is believed to be behind the rocket launches. “In the past, when Hamas wanted to contain other factions in the Strip, it succeeded,” a source told the broadcaster. “Therefore, the responsibility for everything occurring in Gaza belongs to Hamas.”
PIJ has threatened military action if Hisham Abu Hawash, a Palestinian being held by Israel in administrative detention, should die. Abu Hawash, who has been on hunger strike for over 130 days, was reportedly recently transferred to an Israeli hospital in critical condition.
In the retaliatory action, IDF fighter jets, helicopters, and tanks carried out overnight strikes on a series of targets at a Hamas rocket manufacturing complex in Khan Yunis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The IDF also said it hit a number of Hamas military posts along the Gaza border.
Saturday’s rocket fire came after months of relative quiet along the Israel-Gaza border following an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May.
“It remains to be seen over the coming months if Palestinian factions have changed tactics since the May conflict and will begin to target Tel Aviv in a more frequent manner as a response to Israeli activities,” tweeted Joe Truzman, research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal.
Even Russia acknowledges that any conventional war between the U.S. and Russia would destroy Russia but not destroy the U.S. Consequently, for Russia, any such war will not be waged. Only idiots would choose to engage in a war that they are certain to lose, and which would utterly destroy themselves. This means that if the U.S. strikes Russia by a conventional (i.e., non-nuclear) invasion, then Russia has only two options: (1) to respond with conventional weapons and assuredly be destroyed while achieving nothing; or, else (2) promptly release at least enough of its 6,255 nuclear warheads so as to maximally weaken the U.S.A.-and-allied retaliatory capability so as to be able then to go into a “Round Two” nuclear attack against the U.S.-and-allied side by having a much stronger military position than all of its many enemies (America and its allies) do.
That second option would leave BOTH SIDES, and (because of the then-inevitable nuclear winter) actually the entire planet, either doomed or else being close to being so. However, the U.S. and its many allies would be in far worse condition than Russia would be (because they’d have been greatly weakened by Russia’s nuclear first-strike); and then, MAYBE, Russians could survive that war by having lives that might be worth living.
The second option, for Russia, would be enormously less horrible than the first option; and here is why:
First of all: Russia would still retain its sovereign independence, not become a slave-nation (which the survivors in any U.S.-and-allied nation would then be: slaves, then, to Russia).
Secondly: Russia wouldn’t need to worry any longer whether the U.S.-and-allied side would be the first to go nuclear. Instead, the war would be over.
This is the reason why, ever since at least 2006, the U.S. has been planning and building its war against Russia for the U.S. side to be the first to go nuclear. (That plan is called “Nuclear Primacy,” and it replaces the previous system, which still continued on in Russia, and which was called “M.A.D” for “Mutually Assured Destruction.”)
Consequently: any idea that Russia would likely respond to a non-nuclear invasion of Russia without promptly going nuclear against the invading powers is stupid. Russia now knows how voracious America’s rulers (America’s billionaires) are. Ever since 24 February 1990, the U.S. had been secretly informing its allies that though the Soviet Union would soon end, and Soviet communism would soon end, and the Soviets’ Warsaw-Pact that they had built up in response to America’s NATO military alliance would also soon end, the U.S. side of the Cold War was to be secretly continued against Russia, until Russia itself becomes conquered and swallowed-up by the U.S. side, and the U.S. thereby becomes the unchallengeable dictator over the entire world.
Russia’s recent demand that all U.S.-and-allied weaponry that is less than a ten-minute flying-distance from Moscow be removed, and that NATO expansion be permanently halted, is a desperate attempt by Russia to avoid becoming yet-another slave-country to the U.S. regime. Russia doesn’t have good options. But, given the insatiably voracious appetite for expanding yet further America’s power that America’s rulers have, neither does any other country. And even Russia’s enormous nuclear force can’t protect Russians against so evil an enemy. But, perhaps, Russia’s nuclear force will be able to prevent Russians from becoming slaves to the U.S. regime. And that would be something worthy of achieving.
By Harry Howard For Mailonline 14:53 EST 01 Jan 2022 , updated 15:25 EST 01 Jan 20224hrs ago
A high time for hypersonic missiles – but who has what?
The US military has a number of hypersonic weapons programs across the Navy, Army and Air Force but most are still in development phase and highly top secret.
However the known programs are all more conventional hypersonic weapons that strike from high altitude, rather than orbital bombardment systems that strike from space which the Chinese were revealed to have developed tis week.
The only US hypersonic weapon know to have been successfully tested is the Air Force’s GM-183 ARRW which is designed to be launched from a large bomber aircraft.
It then accelerates to hypersonic speeds using of up to 15,345mph using a supersonic combustion ramjet to strike targets within 1,000 miles. Donald Trump refered to a ‘super duper missile’ while in office and this is believed to be the AGM-183 ARRW.
The Navy’s submarine launched Long Range Hypersonic Weapon is expected to be operational by 2023 and will have a range of 1,725 miles.
Darpa, the US army’s scientific wing, recently announced successful tests of what it called a HAWC missile (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) but kept details such as range, speed and payload secret.
The missile uses oxygen in the atmosphere as part of its fuel – marking the first successful test of that class of weapon since 2013.
The missile, which is built by Raytheon, was released from an aircraft just ‘seconds’ before the scramjet engine from Northrop Grumman kicked on, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said.
The engine works by compressing incoming air with hydrocarbon fuel to create a fast airflow mixture, one capable of reaching over 1,700 meters per second, or five times the speed of sound.
Earlier this year, a test of a hypersonic missile from the U.S. Air Force was abandoned after it was unable to complete its launch sequence.
On March 19 last year, the Pentagon flight-tested a hypersonic glide vehicle at its Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. It deemed the test a success and ‘a major milestone towards the department’s goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s.’
Unlike Russia, the United States says it is not developing hypersonic weapons for use with a nuclear warhead. As a result, a U.S. hypersonic weapon will need to be more accurate, posing additional technical challenges.
In 2004, NASA’s experimental unmanned hypersonic aircraft X-43 reached 7,366mph (Mach 9.6) using a scramjet engine, setting the current record.
In 2019, DailyMail.com reported that the Raytheon and Northrop Grumman-developed missile would use an engine made by a 3D printer.
Last year, DARPA said it was working with Aerojet Rocketdyne on a nearly $20 million project to develop a hypersonic rocket that could intercept enemy missiles mid-air.
Russia recently launched a hypersonic missile, the Zircon, from a submarine, and since late 2019 has had the hypersonic nuclear-capable Avangard missiles in service. The Avangard can travel at up to Mach 27, changing course and altitude.
The range of Russia’s hypersonic missile, the Zircon, is 621 miles with a speed of 9,800mph.
But the missile flies below the atmosphere and uses fuel to power itself to hypersonic speeds rather than the Earth’s orbit.
Earlier this month, Russia announced it has successfully test-fired the Zircon from a nuclear submarine for the first time.
The 6,670mph weapon hit a target in the Barents Sea according to the Moscow defence ministry, who claims the missile is capable of Mach-9 speeds and able to evade all Western defences.
Russia said it had completed flight tests of the new-age missile from a frigate – the Admiral Gorshkov – and a coastal mount, but it had not previously been launched from a submarine.
The Zircon has been identified by Moscow’s state-controlled TV as Vladimir Putin’s weapon of choice to wipe out coastal American cities in the event of an atomic conflict.
He has declared the missile as ‘truly unparalleled anywhere in the world’, and the Russians have boasted it is ‘unstoppable’ by Western defences.
Putin first announced the development of an array of new hypersonic weapons in 2018, insisting that they would be able to hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.
The Zircon is due to go into service next year, and will first be deployed via the Admiral Golovko frigate which carries significant stealth-technology.
A key use of the missile is taking out enemy ships and reports suggested its maximum range is between 188 and 620 miles.
But there have been unconfirmed reports its true range is some 1,200 miles.
The missile system’s design and development have been conducted in deep secrecy, and Putin has warned that foreign spies have tried to steal its secrets.
It is one of a number of hypersonic missiles Russia is deploying including the 188-tonne Sarmat – known in the West as Satan-2 – which will be the biggest beast in Russia’s nuclear arsenal, due for tests in the autumn with deployment slated for next year.
In May, Russia said it tested three ‘invincible’ hypersonic ‘Satan 2’ missiles that some have said could wipe out areas the size of England and Wales.
The hypersonic orbital bombardment system that China tested in August reportedly reaches a top speed of 21,000 mph and strikes from space.
The core concept of China’s ‘new’ weapon – deliver a warhead into orbit and have it circle the globe before hitting a target – was first developed by the Soviets in the 1960s.
Called a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, or FOBS, it was developed to evade powerful US radar arrays and missile defence systems.
Those systems work by detecting launches of ICBMs – very long-range missiles that can be tipped with nukes – and tracking them into space, then firing at the warheads as they come down in the hope of blowing them up before they hit their targets.
This is possible because ICBMs and their warheads follow a predictable trajectory that rises high into space – making them relatively easy to spot and allowing defence crews to calculate where they are aimed so they can be shot out of the sky.
FOBS aim to negate these defences by firing their warheads along a much-flatter trajectory – assisted by Earth’s gravity.
This means they pass under the scope of many radar detection arrays and are harder to track. It also makes the warheads much harder to shoot down because their trajectory is harder to calculate.
The use of orbit makes a warhead’s range potentially unlimited, meaning it can be fired at its target from any direction. This helps to avoid radar systems which generally point at a fixed spot in the sky – in America’s case, over the North Pole.
Meanwhile, China has also unveiled a hypersonic medium-range missile, the DF-17, in 2019, which can travel around 2,000 kilometres and can carry nuclear warheads.
In October, China deployed the DF 17 missile to coastal areas in preparation for a possible invasion of Taiwan.
The weapon has a maximum range of 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) and is capable of achieving speeds of up to 7,680 miles per hour (12,360 kph) – or 10 times the speed of sound – while carrying a nuclear warhead, according to previous reports.
It has been billed as ‘a death sentence’ to aircraft carriers within its range.
Hypersonic missiles travel at more than five times the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere – or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph). This is slower than an intercontinental ballistic missile, but the shape of a hypersonic glide vehicle allows it to manoeuvre toward a target or away from defences.
Combining a glide vehicle with a missile that can launch it partially into orbit – a so-called fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) – could strip adversaries of reaction time and traditional defences mechanisms.
Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), by contrast, carry nuclear warheads on ballistic trajectories that travel into space but never reach orbit.
China on Monday insisted that the test in August was a routine one for a spacecraft rather than a missile.
The incident comes two years after a US drone strike killed Iran’s revered General Soleimani.
Two armed drones were shot down as they approached an Iraqi military base hosting US forces near Baghdad’s international airport, Iraqi security sources said, adding that nobody was hurt in the incident.
An official of the US-led international military coalition stationed there said the base’s defence system engaged “two fixed-wing suicide drones… they were shot down without incident”.
“This was a dangerous attack on a civilian airport,” the coalition official said in a brief statement on Monday.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Footage provided by the coalition showed what the official said was debris of two fixed-wing drones destroyed in the attack, with writing clearly visible on the wing of one drone reading “Soleimani’s revenge”.
The attack came as Iran and its allies in Iraq marked the second anniversary of the assassination of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a drone strike ordered by Donald Trump near Baghdad airport.
Soleimani, head of an elite overseas unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed along with Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3, 2020.
Hundreds of supporters of Iran-backed militia groups gathered on Sunday at Baghdad airport to mark the anniversary of Soleimani’s death and to chant anti-American slogans.
The Hashed – a coalition of former paramilitary groups now integrated into the Iraqi state security apparatus – held a candle-lit vigil on Sunday at the airport for the two men killed.
The US said at the time that Soleimani was planning imminent action against US personnel in Iraq, a country long torn between the competing demands of its principal allies Washington and Tehran.
Five days after his killing, Iran fired missiles at an airbase in Iraq housing US troops and another near Erbil in the country’s north.
Since then, dozens of rockets and roadside bombs have targeted US security, military and diplomatic sites across Iraq.
On December 9, the US-led coalition declared it had finished its combat mission in Iraq and that its approximately 2,500 troops would shift to a purely training and advisory role.
Israeli air attacks hit ‘rocket manufacturing site, military posts’ in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military said it launched air attacks on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip, a day after rockets fired from Gaza landed in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israeli military said the attacks late on Saturday hit a rocket manufacturing facility and a military post for Hamas.
“As fireworks lit up the skies to celebrate NewYear2022 around the world, a different type of fire came from Gaza-terrorist rocket-fire toward Israel,” the Israel military said in a tweet on Sunday.
“In response, we just struck Hamas sites in Gaza, incl. a rocket manufacturing site & military posts used for terrorist activity.”
It was not clear whether the rockets from Gaza on Saturday were meant to hit Israel, but Gaza-based groups often test-fire missiles towards the sea.
Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, told Al Jazeera that some of the areas targeted by the Israel strikes include agricultural lands.
“Our resistance will continue to perform its duty to defend our people and liberate our land and sanctities,” Qassem said. “We will stick to our right of resistance until achieving the goals of our people with liberation and return.”
There were no reports of casualties from Saturday’s attack. No sirens were sounded and Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system did not deploy, the army said in a statement.
Apart from a single incident in September, there has been no cross-border rocket fire since a ceasefire ended an 11-day warbetween Israel and Hamas in May.
The ceasefire, brokered by Egypt and other mediators, has been fragile. Hamas says Israel did not take serious steps to ease the blockade it imposed on Gaza with Egypt’s help when the group seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007.
More than 260 Palestinians, many of them civilians and children, and 13 Israelis were killed in the May assault on Gaza, during which Israel carried out relentless air raids across the coastal enclave, prompting Gaza fighters to fire rockets towards Israeli cities.
Israel keeps Gaza under blockade, tightly restricting movement out of the territory that is home to two million Palestinians. Egypt also maintains restrictions on the enclave. Both cite threats from Hamas for the restrictions.
The blockade restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza and has ravaged the territory’s economy and harmed the population of two million.