Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake: Revelation 6

Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

Roger BilhamQuakeland: New York and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Given recent seismic activity — political as well as geological — it’s perhaps unsurprising that two books on earthquakes have arrived this season. One is as elegant as the score of a Beethoven symphony; the other resembles a diary of conversations overheard during a rock concert. Both are interesting, and both relate recent history to a shaky future.

Journalist Kathryn Miles’s Quakeland is a litany of bad things that happen when you provoke Earth to release its invisible but ubiquitous store of seismic-strain energy, either by removing fluids (oil, water, gas) or by adding them in copious quantities (when extracting shale gas in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, or when injecting contaminated water or building reservoirs). To complete the picture, she describes at length the bad things that happen during unprovoked natural earthquakes. As its subtitle hints, the book takes the form of a road trip to visit seismic disasters both past and potential, and seismologists and earthquake engineers who have first-hand knowledge of them. Their colourful personalities, opinions and prejudices tell a story of scientific discovery and engineering remedy.

Miles poses some important societal questions. Aside from human intervention potentially triggering a really damaging earthquake, what is it actually like to live in neighbourhoods jolted daily by magnitude 1–3 earthquakes, or the occasional magnitude 5? Are these bumps in the night acceptable? And how can industries that perturb the highly stressed rocks beneath our feet deny obvious cause and effect? In 2015, the Oklahoma Geological Survey conceded that a quadrupling of the rate of magnitude-3 or more earthquakes in recent years, coinciding with a rise in fracking, was unlikely to represent a natural process. Miles does not take sides, but it’s difficult for the reader not to.

She visits New York City, marvelling at subway tunnels and unreinforced masonry almost certainly scheduled for destruction by the next moderate earthquake in the vicinity. She considers the perils of nuclear-waste storage in Nevada and Texas, and ponders the risks to Idaho miners of rock bursts — spontaneous fracture of the working face when the restraints of many million years of confinement are mined away. She contemplates the ups and downs of the Yellowstone Caldera — North America’s very own mid-continent supervolcano — and its magnificently uncertain future. Miles also touches on geothermal power plants in southern California’s Salton Sea and elsewhere; the vast US network of crumbling bridges, dams and oil-storage farms; and the magnitude 7–9 earthquakes that could hit California and the Cascadia coastline of Oregon and Washington state this century. Amid all this doom, a new elementary school on the coast near Westport, Washington, vulnerable to inbound tsunamis, is offered as a note of optimism. With foresight and much persuasion from its head teacher, it was engineered to become an elevated safe haven.

Miles briefly discusses earthquake prediction and the perils of getting it wrong (embarrassment in New Madrid, Missouri, where a quake was predicted but never materialized; prison in L’Aquila, Italy, where scientists failed to foresee a devastating seismic event) and the successes of early-warning systems, with which electronic alerts can be issued ahead of damaging seismic waves. Yes, it’s a lot to digest, but most of the book obeys the laws of physics, and it is a engaging read. One just can’t help wishing that Miles’s road trips had taken her somewhere that wasn’t a disaster waiting to happen.

Catastrophic damage in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964, caused by the second-largest earthquake in the global instrumental record.

In The Great Quake, journalist Henry Fountain provides us with a forthright and timely reminder of the startling historical consequences of North America’s largest known earthquake, which more than half a century ago devastated southern Alaska. With its epicentre in Prince William Sound, the 1964 quake reached magnitude 9.2, the second largest in the global instrumental record. It released more energy than either the 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake or the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off Japan; and it generated almost as many pages of scientific commentary and description as aftershocks. Yet it has been forgotten by many.

The quake was scientifically important because it occurred at a time when plate tectonics was in transition from hypothesis to theory. Fountain expertly traces the theory’s historical development, and how the Alaska earthquake was pivotal in nailing down one of the most important predictions. The earthquake caused a fjordland region larger than England to subside, and a similarly huge region of islands offshore to rise by many metres; but its scientific implications were not obvious at the time. Eminent seismologists thought that a vertical fault had slipped, drowning forests and coastlines to its north and raising beaches and islands to its south. But this kind of fault should have reached the surface, and extended deep into Earth’s mantle. There was no geological evidence of a monster surface fault separating these two regions, nor any evidence for excessively deep aftershocks. The landslides and liquefied soils that collapsed houses, and the tsunami that severely damaged ports and infrastructure, offered no clues to the cause.

“Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about present-day vulnerability.” The hero of The Great Quake is the geologist George Plafker, who painstakingly mapped the height reached by barnacles lifted out of the intertidal zone along shorelines raised by the earthquake, and documented the depths of drowned forests. He deduced that the region of subsidence was the surface manifestation of previously compressed rocks springing apart, driving parts of Alaska up and southwards over the Pacific Plate. His finding confirmed a prediction of plate tectonics, that the leading edge of the Pacific Plate plunged beneath the southern edge of Alaska along a gently dipping thrust fault. That observation, once fully appreciated, was applauded by the geophysics community.

Fountain tells this story through the testimony of survivors, engineers and scientists, interweaving it with the fascinating history of Alaska, from early discovery by Europeans to purchase from Russia by the United States in 1867, and its recent development. Were the quake to occur now, it is not difficult to envisage that with increased infrastructure and larger populations, the death toll and price tag would be two orders of magnitude larger than the 139 fatalities and US$300-million economic cost recorded in 1964.

What is clear from these two books is that seismicity on the North American continent is guaranteed to deliver surprises, along with unprecedented economic and human losses. Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about the present-day vulnerability of US infrastructure and populations. Engineers and seismologists know how to mitigate the effects of future earthquakes (and, in mid-continent, would advise against the reckless injection of waste fluids known to trigger earthquakes). It is merely a matter of persuading city planners and politicians that if they are tempted to ignore the certainty of the continent’s seismic past, they should err on the side of caution when considering its seismic future.

Officer guarding Israeli prisoner killed in airstrike outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas: officer guarding Israeli prisoner was killed in airstrike

Hamas says in the statement they would release the name of the officer killed at a later date

The Hamas militant group announced on Sunday that an officer guarding an Israeli prisoner was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the 2021 Gaza war. 

According to the group, Israel struck the building where an unnamed Israeli military (IDF) soldier was held, killing one Hamas operative and wounding three other members.  

However, while Hamas is understood to be holding two Israeli civilians prisoner, it does not hold any IDF service personnel captive. 

The airstrike occurred during the May 2021 clashes between Israel and Gaza – what Israel calls “Operation Guardian of the Walls” – which lasted 11 days before a ceasefire.

Hamas said in the statement they would release the name of the officer killed at a later date. No details were given about the Israeli captive in the incident.

Monday marks eight years since Hadar Goldin was killed and his body taken by Hamas, during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.  

Earlier in the war, during the Battle of Shuja’iyya, Oron Shaul was also killed and his body taken by Hamas. Both the bodies of Goldin and Shaul are believed to be held by Hamas. 

Later on Sunday, the brother of Goldin, Tzur, tweeted in Arabic, “The doctrine of Hamas is a lie! Hamas will pay a heavy price for every minute my brother is with them.”

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Last month, Hamas released footage of Hisham al-Sayed, an Israeli captive, showing him hooked up to a ventilator.

This was the first public sign of life Hamas has provided since his capture in the Gaza Strip seven years ago. 

Al-Sayed is a Bedouin man who has been receiving psychiatric care for ten years, according to Haaretz. He crossed into Gaza in April 2015, his third attempt to do so. 

According to his father, he briefly served in the IDF for several months, although Hamas refers to him as “a soldier in the occupation army.”

Iran nuclear horn is ready to produce a Bomb: Daniel 8

international atomic energy agency iaea director general rafael grossi meets with head of iran s atomic energy organisation mohammad eslami in tehran iran september 12 2021 photo reuters

Iran nuclear chief: We have technical means to produce an atom bomb, no intention of doing so

DUBAI:

Iran has the technical capability to produce an atomic bomb but has no intention of doing so, Mohammad Eslami, head of the country’s atomic energy organisation, said on Monday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Eslami reiterated comments made by Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in July.

Kharrazi’s remarks amounted to a rare suggestion that the Islamic Republic might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.

Iran is already enriching uranium to up to 60% fissile purity, far above a cap of 3.67% set under Tehran’s now tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Uranium enriched to 90% is suitable for a nuclear bomb.

In 2018, former U.S. President Donald Trump ditched the nuclear pact, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment work, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions.

Iran has responded to top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell’s proposal aimed at salvaging the nuclear accord, and seeks a swift conclusion to negotiations, the top Iranian nuclear negotiator said on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Borrell said he had proposed a new draft text to revive the deal.

The China Horn’s new nuclear test site in Xinjiang

Satellite photos show China’s new nuclear test site in Xinjiang

Experts ask whether a nuclear arms race with the U.S. is underway

TOKYO/NEW YORK — China is expanding its nuclear test facilities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an analysis of satellite photographs obtained by Nikkei suggests.

Beijing halted explosive tests in the area a quarter of a century ago. Nikkei has viewed satellite photographs with a number of experts that appear to confirm China is strengthening its nuclear testing capability.

Extensive coverings have been erected on a mountainside in this arid region, and broken rocks piled up nearby are believed to be evidence of excavation of a new “sixth tunnel” for testing hidden beneath.

Power transmission cables and a facility that could be used for storing high-explosives have recently been installed, while unpaved white roads lead from a command post in various directions.

The evidence of new construction was detected by a satellite 450 kilometers above Lop Nur, a dried up salt lake in the southeast of Western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Many analysts believe that the secret nuclear testing area is secured by the People’s Liberation Army.

“China could conduct nuclear-related tests anytime, especially since the electricity line and road system now connects Lop Nur’s western military nuclear test facilities to new possible test areas in the east,” an expert at AllSource Analysis, a U.S. private geospatial company, told Nikkei. The researcher spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

China aims to become a military power on a par with the U.S. by the middle of the 21st century — a formidable ambition given the underdeveloped state of some of its forces and materiel.

China has 2.04 million military personnel. Although that is already the largest standing force in the world — and 1.5 times larger than that of the U.S — it has been unable to recruit enough troops of late, according to one retired military officer. This is a combination of the old “one-child policy” and a preference among the younger generation for less physically demanding work in the private sector.

President Xi Jinping said the Chinese Communist Party rules “east, west, north, south,” and that means it controls the PLA. But China’s military system remains corrupt and nepotistic. The PLA is also untested; its last real combat experience was the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979.

The Xi administration may be contemplating the unification of China, and that would involve taking Taiwan by force. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has provided a sobering warning about the risks of military adventures, not least for the serious shortcomings in the quality of Russian military equipment. Russia supplies China with over 66% of its imported military hardware.

The issue is where nuclear weapons might fit into all these calculations. China has conducted five underground nuclear tests at Lop Nur, the last in 1996. Evidence that a sixth tunnel has been excavated points to a planned resumption.

There is also some telling evidence to be found in tenders invited from the region. In April, an official Chinese procurement website invited bids for “10 radiation dose alarms,” “12 protective suits,” and “one detector of wound site taints.” This was ostensibly part of “a project for emergency monitoring of nuclear and radiation accidents.” The invitations were issued by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a paramilitary organization under the CCP.

Although there are no nuclear power plants in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the XPCC said that it will “make 2022 the starting year for strengthening the capacity to monitor radioactivity.” Procurement of related equipment has increased in the region.

Satellites detected new terrain leveling activity at Lop Nur in October 2020. Big trucks came and went in 2021, and the power infrastructure for the sixth tunnel was built in the first half of 2022. In June, the explosive storage facility was completed.

Increased radiation was detected in the vicinity alongside these developments. A new underground facility that could be used to launch nuclear missiles was found nearby.

Time is not on Xi’s side. He is maneuvering for a third term that will end in 2027. “Possibly [he] wants to discourage U.S. intervention in the Taiwan Strait by threatening to use small nuclear weapons,” Nobumasa Akiyama, a professor at Hitotsubashi University who studies East Asian security, told Nikkei.

If there is an emergency in the Taiwan Strait, maritime control will of course be the key issue. Small nuclear weapons with limited strike capabilities could enable China to hold U.S. aircraft carriers at bay.

Russia has threatened the use of small nuclear weapons on airports and underpopulated areas in Ukraine. The U.S. has so far had no direct involvement in the war there, and some analysts have argued that the possible use of nuclear firepower has made it even more wary of any entanglement. China is certainly aware of this line of thinking.

China’s nuclear arsenal has aged since the last tests were conducted, and new data is needed for the latest generation of nuclear weapons before their deployment.

Analysis in mid-July of other satellite intelligence meanwhile appears to show U.S. activity at its U1a Complex in the Nevada National Security Site.

The Nevada work is thought to have started in September 2021, and construction at two locations there has nearly doubled the site. “The U1a Complex Enhancements Project will help underwrite future annual assessments and modernization programs and will ensure confidence in the reliability of the nuclear stockpile without a return to nuclear testing,” said Tyler Patterson, a spokesperson for the site.

Although President Joe Biden has advocated a “nuclear-free world,” the U.S. conducted subcritical nuclear tests without reaching a critical mass in June and September 2021. By holding more than a quarter of the world’s nuclear warheads, the U.S. continues to compete head-on with China and Russia on nuclear weapons.

Blocks on the use of nuclear weapons may be coming down as the U.S. and China continue developing smaller devices alongside Russia’s nuclear saber rattling in Ukraine.

“[A conflagration in the Taiwan Strait increases] the risk of China using small nuclear weapons and the U.S. countering with them,” said Michiru Nishida, a professor at Nagasaki University.

In a report in June, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute warned that the risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest level since the Cold War in the second half of the 20th century.

The findings come as signatories to the UN’s key nuclear non-proliferation agreement meet in New York to begin their regular review of the arrangement.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. declined to comment on the matter.

Antichrist Calls For Radical Change To Iraq’s Political System

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (file photo)

Prominent Shiite Cleric Calls For Radical Change To Iraq’s Political System

Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his supporters to join thousands of others who have camped at the parliament to prevent the formation of a new government.

In a message released on Sunday, Sadr — who seeks to curb the influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Iraqi politics — urged his followers, including tribal leaders and paramilitary forces, to join his cause, saying now is the best time to change the political system and constitution.

“This is a great chance for radical change to the political system. Don’t miss your chance,” he said. 

Protesting against corruption and political mismanagement, hundreds of followers of Sadr occupied the country’s parliament on Saturday after mounting concrete barricades on roads leading to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

At least sixty protesters were injured in clashes with security forces, according to the Iraqi Health Ministry. 

The protesters stressed the need for an independent government in Baghdad, emphasizing that they do not want an Iranian-linked government or a subordinate one.

It was the largest protest since the federal elections and the second time al-Sadr has used his ability to mobilize the masses to send a message to his political rivals this month,and renewed his call to dismantle outlaw armed factions, referring to the Iran-backed Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi, which was led by former Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis before he was killed alongside Qasem Soleimani in January 2020 by a US drone strike.

Iraqi parliament suspends session following breach by supporters of the Antichrist

Iraqi parliament suspends session following breach by supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr

Iraqi parliament suspends session following breach by supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s parliament session was suspended on Saturday following the breaching of its building by supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, the parliament speaker announced.

In a statement published by Iraqi official agency INA, Mohammed al-Halbusi said the country is going through difficult and sensitive times, and that differences of opinion between political groups are a normal situation in democratically based, developed countries.

Stressing that no matter the size of the disagreements, the solution is dialogue, Halbusi called on all political parties to prioritize the interests of the state.

He stated that parliamentary sessions are suspended until a decision based on public safety, national responsibilities, and constitutional rights is made, and called for peaceful action and protection of state property.

Halbusi also called on Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to take necessary measures to protect state institutions and demonstrators.

Due to political differences, a new Iraqi government has not been formed since early parliamentary elections were held last October.

On July 25, the Coordination Framework alliance chose Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudan, 52, as a candidate to head the next government, to help end the over eight-month crisis.

Stances on al-Sudani’s candidacy were divided between supporters and opponents, as the protest movement and the Shiite Sadrist movement demanded the nomination of a figure without any history with the government.

Iran Is Trying to Play the Saudis Against the US Horn : Daniel

Iran Is Trying to Play the Saudis Against the US. It Won’t Work.

With US President Joe Biden having departed the Middle East, the region’s two prime antagonists are thinking about just getting along. Iran and Saudi Arabia, having completed five rounds of talks in Iraq over the past year, both said last week they were moving toward higher-level negotiations on reconciliation. Paradoxically, this budding rapprochement between friend and foe offers important opportunities for Washington.

After severing diplomatic ties following a January 2016 mob attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, the Riyadh government hoped sanctions on Iran by President Donald Trump’s administration might produce a change in Iranian conduct. Instead, Iran became more aggressive than ever, culminating with a devastating missile strike on Saudi Aramco facilities in September 2019.

The Trump administration, usually bellicose toward Iran, turned a blind eye, noting that no Americans had been killed. That proved a final straw for the Saudis. They were already upset that the Barack Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran ignored two main concerns — Iran’s drone and missile arsenal, and its network of armed gangs in Arab countries including Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

The Saudis concluded that Washington was no longer reliable, and that if they wanted their top security issues involving Tehran to be on the negotiating table, they were going to put them there by themselves. After the 2020 US election, that realization dovetailed with the Biden administration’s encouragement of diplomacy over the use of force in the region.

The formal reconciliation talks began in April 2021 at the Baghdad airport; Iraq constituting something approximating neutral ground. Initially, little progress was made. The Saudis focused on getting Iran to pressure its Houthi clients in Yemen to agree to a cease-fire and eventual peace settlement in a war that has turned into a quagmire for Riyadh. The Iranians wanted only to discuss restoring diplomatic relations.

But after the fifth round earlier this year, and amid the growing sense that Iran was stubbornly blocking Biden’s effort to revive the nuclear deal, there was a minor, but real, breakthrough. Responding to Iranian prodding, the Houthis finally agreed to a truce, which has lasted more than two months and allowed significant humanitarian relief into the beleaguered country.

The Saudis’ securing and maintaining the cease-fire in the bloody conflict pleased the White House and Congress. Riyadh also took the opportunity to finally rid itself of the obstreperous Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, replacing him with a new Presidential Leadership Council.

Another round of talks, which seems imminent, will come at a pivotal moment in US relations with friends and foes in the Middle East. Biden’s visit was intended to repair strained US-Saudi relations. But perhaps more importantly, the president encouraged Saudi Arabia to join other Arab countries, and even Israel, in building a set of informal cooperative security arrangements. These would include air- and missile-defense systems to offset Iran’s increasingly powerful arsenal.

The eventual aim of such expanded collaboration is for the US military to reduce its Middle East footprint, doing less with more, because regional cooperation could prove more effective and sustainable than outside intervention.

Not everything is going smoothly. There are already signs that the Houthis may break the uneasy truce in Yemen. Iran will play a central role in whether that happens, because it uses such militias to increase or relieve pressure on its adversaries, adjusting violence like turning a spigot.

It’s also clear that Tehran hopes to use the reconciliation talks with Riyadh to drive a wedge between the US and Saudi Arabia. The idea is to make the Saudis choose between either rebuilding close cooperation with Washington or achieving rapprochement with Iran and extraction from the Yemen war.

It’s a crude trap. Washington can outflank Tehran by strengthening security commitments to Saudi Arabia, while making it clear it expects greater Saudi cooperation on energy production and pricing, keeping Russia and China at arm’s length, and being open to greater regional security coordination. The Gulf Arab countries still have major doubts about US commitment and reliability, but they understand there’s no practical alternative to American support.

Iranian media are playing up Saudi Arabia’s supposed enthusiasm for wide-ranging reconciliation, but in fact the Saudis remain highly skeptical. The US and Saudi Arabia can give the Iranians a set of clear choices: They can have relations restored with the Saudis, a renewed nuclear agreement with Washington, and respect for legitimate security concerns — but only on reasonable terms, starting with curbing violence by their regional proxies.

The partnership between Washington and Riyadh may not be as strong as it once was, but it’s clearly on the mend. And it’s certainly still strong enough to be able to show Iran that it can’t score cheap victories by trying to divide them.