The Ramapo Fault and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

 

Living on the Fault Line

A major earthquake isn’t likely here, but if it comes, watch out.

Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo

This chart shows the location of the Ramapo Fault System, the longest and one of the oldest systems of cracks in the earth’s crust in the Northeast. It also shows the location of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in New Jersey during the last 50 years. The circle in blue indicates the largest known Jersey quake.

The couple checked with Burns’s parents, who live in nearby Basking Ridge, and they, too, had heard and felt something, which they thought might have been an earthquake. A call by Burns some 20 minutes later to the Bernardsville Police Department—one of many curious and occasionally panicky inquiries that Sunday morning, according to the officer in charge, Sergeant John Remian—confirmed their suspicion: A magnitude 2.6 earthquake, its epicenter in Peapack/Gladstone, about seven miles from Bernardsville, had hit the area. A smaller aftershock followed about two and a half hours later.

After this year’s epic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, and China, the 2.6 quake and aftershock that shook parts of New Jersey in February may seem minor league, even to the Somerset County residents who experienced them. On the exponential Richter Scale, a magnitude 7.0 quake like the one that hit Haiti in January is almost 4 million times stronger than a quake of 2.6 magnitude. But comparisons of magnitude don’t tell the whole story.

Northern New Jersey straddles the Ramapo Fault, a significant ancient crack in the earth’s crust. The longest fault in the Northeast, it begins in Pennsylvania and moves into New Jersey, trending northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before terminating in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant. And though scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is, many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. The fault line is visible at ground level and likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.

During the past 230 years or so, New Jersey has been at the epicenter of nearly 170 earthquakes, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Geological Survey, part of the United States Department of Environmental Protection. The largest known quake struck in 1783, somewhere west of New York City, perhaps in Sussex County. It’s typically listed as 5.3 in magnitude, though that’s an estimate by seismologists who are quick to point out that the concept of magnitude—measuring the relative size of an earthquake—was not introduced until 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg. Still, for quakes prior to that, scientists are not just guessing.

“We can figure out the damage at the time by going back to old records and newspaper accounts,” says Won-Young Kim, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, directly across the New Jersey border. “Once the amount and extent of contemporary damage has been established,” Kim says, “we’re then able to gauge the pattern of ground shaking or intensity of the event—and from there extrapolate its probable magnitude.”

Other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher have been felt in New Jersey, although their epicenters laying near New York City. One—which took place in 1737 and was said to have been felt as far north as Boston and as far south as northern Delaware—was probably in the 5 to 5.5 range. In 1884, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurred off New York’s Rockaway Beach. This well-documented event pulled houses off their foundations and caused steeples to topple as far west as Rahway. The shock wave, scientists believe, was felt over 70,000 square miles, from Vermont to Maryland.

Among the largest sub-5 magnitude earthquakes with epicenters in New Jersey, two (a 3.8 and a 4.0) took place on the same day in 1938 in the Lakehurst area in Ocean County. On August 26, 2003, a 3.5 magnitude quake shook the Frenchtown/Milford area in Hunterdon County. On February 3 of last year, a 3.0 magnitude quake occurred in the Morris County town of Mendham. “A lot of people felt this one because of the intense shaking, although the area of intensity wasn’t very wide,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim, who visited the site after the event.

After examining the known historical and geological record, Kim and other seismologists have found no clear evidence that an earthquake of greater than 5.3 to 5.5 magnitude has taken place in this area going back to 1737. This doesn’t mean, of course, that one did not take place in the more remote past or that one will not occur in the future; it simply means that a very large quake is less likely to occur here than in other places in the east where the seismic hazard is greater, including areas in South Carolina and northeastern New York State.

But no area on the East Coast is as densely populated or as heavily built-up as parts of New Jersey and its neighbors. For this reason, scientists refer to the Greater New York City-Philadelphia area, which includes New Jersey’s biggest cities, as one of “low earthquake hazard but high vulnerability.” Put simply, the Big One isn’t likely here—but if it comes, especially in certain locations, watch out.

Given this low-hazard, high-vulnerability scenario, how far along are scientists in their efforts to predict larger magnitude earthquakes in the New Jersey area? The answer is complex, complicated by the state’s geographical position, its unique geological history, the state of seismology itself, and the continuing debate over the exact nature and activity of the Ramapo Fault.

Over millions of years, New Jersey developed four distinct physiographic provinces or regions, which divide the state into a series of diagonal slices, each with its own terrain, rock type, and geological landforms.

The northernmost slice is the Valley and Ridge, comprising major portions of Sussex and Warren counties. The southernmost slice is the Coastal Plain, a huge expanse that covers some three-fifths of the state, including all of the Shore counties. Dividing the rest of the state are the Highlands, an area for the most part of solid but brittle rock right below the Valley and Ridge, and the lower lands of the Piedmont, which occupy all of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, most of Bergen, Hunterdon, and Somerset, and parts of Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.

For earthquake monitors and scientists, the formation of these last two provinces—the Highlands and the Piedmont—are of special interest. To understand why, consider that prior to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean, today’s Africa was snuggled cozily up against North America and surrounded by a single enormous ocean. “At that point, you could have had exits off the New Jersey Turnpike for Morocco,” says Alexander Gates, professor of geology and chair of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.

Under the pressure of circulating material within the Earth’s super-hot middle layer, or mantle, what was once a single continent—one that is thought to have included today’s other continents as well—began to stretch and eventually break, producing numerous cracks or faults and ultimately separating to form what became the Atlantic Ocean. In our area, the longest and most active of these many cracks was the Ramapo Fault, which, through a process known as normal faulting, caused one side of the earth’s crust to slip lower—the Piedmont—relative to the other side—the Highlands. “All this occurred about 225 million years ago,” says Gates. “Back then, you were talking about thousands of feet between the Highlands and the Piedmont and a very active Ramapo Fault.”

The Earth’s crust, which is 20 to 25 miles thick, is not a single, solid shell, but is broken into seven vast tectonic plates, which drift atop the soft, underlying mantle. Although the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault neatly divides two of New Jersey’s four physiographic provinces, it does not form a so-called plate boundary, as does California’s infamous San Andreas Fault. As many Californians know all too well, this giant fault forms the boundary between two plates—to the west, the Pacific Plate, and to the east, the North American Plate; these rub up against each other, producing huge stresses and a regularly repeating pattern of larger earthquakes.

The Ramapo Fault sits on the North American Plate, which extends past the East Coast to the middle of the Atlantic, where it meets the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range in constant flux. The consequences of this intraplate setting are huge: First, as Gates points out, “The predictability of bigger earthquakes on…[such] settings is exceedingly poor, because they don’t occur very often.” Second, the intraplate setting makes it more difficult to link our earthquakes to a major cause or fault, as monitors in California can often do.

This second bit of uncertainty is especially troubling for some people, including some in the media who want a neat story. To get around it, they ignore the differences between plate settings and link all of New Jersey’s earthquakes, either directly or implicitly, to the Ramapo Fault. In effect, such people want the Ramapo Fault “to look like the San Andreas Fault,” says Gates. “They want to be able to point to one big fault that’s causing all of our earthquakes.”

Gates does not think that’s the case, and he has been working with colleagues for a number of years to prove it. “What we have found is that there are smaller faults that generally cut from east to west across the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault,” he explains. “These much smaller faults are all over the place, and they’re actually the ones that are the active faults in the area.”

But what mechanisms are responsible for the formation of these apparently active auxiliary faults? One such mechanism, say scientists, is the westward pressure the Atlantic Ocean exerts on the North American Plate, which for the most part resists any movement. “I think we are in an equilibrium state most of the time,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim.

Still, that continuous pressure on the plate we sit on causes stress, and when that stress builds up sufficiently, the earth’s crust has a tendency to break around any weak zones. In our area, the major weak zone is the Ramapo Fault—“an ancient zone of weakness,” as Kim calls it. That zone of weakness exacerbates the formation of auxiliary faults, and thereby the series of minor earthquakes the state has experienced over the years.

All this presupposes, of course, that any intraplate stress in this area will continue to be released gradually, in a series of relatively minor earthquakes or releases of energy. But what if that were not the case? What if the stress continued to build up, and the release of large amounts of energy came all at once? In crude terms, that’s part of the story behind the giant earthquakes that rocked what is now New Madrid, Missouri, between 1811 and 1812. Although estimates of their magnitude have been revised downward in recent years to less than magnitude 8, these earthquakes are generally regarded as among the largest intraplate events to have occurred in the continental United States.

For a number of reasons—including the relatively low odds that the kind of stored energy that unleashed the New Madrid events could ever build up here—earthquakes of plus-6 magnitude are probably not in our future. Still, says Kim, even a magnitude 6 earthquake in certain areas of the state could do considerable damage, especially if its intensity or ground shaking was of sufficient strength. In a state as geologically diverse and densely populated as New Jersey, this is a crucial wild card.

Part of the job of the experts at the New Jersey Geological Survey is to assess the seismic hazards in different parts of the state. To do this, they use a computer-simulation model developed under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as HAZUS, for Hazards US. To assess the amount of ground shaking likely to occur in a given county during events ranging in magnitude from 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale, NJGS scientists enter three features of a county’s surface geology into their computer model. Two of these features relate to the tendency of soil in a given area to lose strength, liquefy, or slide downhill when shaken. The third and most crucial feature has to do with the depth and density of the soil itself and the type of bedrock lying below it; this is a key component in determining a region’s susceptibility to ground shaking and, therefore, in estimating the  amount of building and structural damage that’s likely to occur in that region. Estimates for the various counties—nine to date have been studied—are sent to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, which provided partial funding for the project.

To appreciate why this element of ground geology is so crucial to earthquake modelers, consider the following: An earthquake’s intensity—which is measured on something called the Modified Mercalli Scale—is related to a number of factors. The amount of energy released or the magnitude of an event is clearly a big factor. But two earthquakes of the same magnitude can have very different levels of intensity; in fact, it’s quite possible for a lower magnitude event to generate more ground shaking than a higher magnitude one.

In addition to magnitude, other factors that affect intensity are the distance of the observer or structure from the epicenter, where intensity is the greatest; the depth beneath the surface of the initial  rupture, with shallower ruptures producing more ground shaking than deeper ones; and, most significantly, the ground geology or material that the shock wave generated by the earthquake must pass through.

As a rule, softer materials like sand and gravel shake much more intensely than harder materials, because the softer materials are comparatively inefficient energy conductors, so whatever energy is released by the quake tends to be trapped, dispersing much more slowly. (Think of a bowl of Jell-O on a table that’s shaking.)

In contrast, harder materials, like the solid rock found widely in the Highlands, are brittle and break under pressure, but conduct energy well, so that even big shock waves disperse much more rapidly through them, thereby weakening the amount of ground shaking. “If you’ve read any stories about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, you know the most intense damage was in those flat, low areas by the Bay, where the soil is soft, and not in the hilly, rocky areas above,” says Karl Muessig, state geologist and NJGS head.

The map that accompanies the online version of the NJGS’s Earthquake Loss Estimation Study divides the state’s surface geology into five seismic soil classes, ranging from Class A, or hard rock, to Class E, or soft soil (state.nj.us/dep/njgs/enviroed/hazus.htm).

Although the weakest soils are scattered throughout the state, including the Highlands, which besides harder rock also contains areas of glacial lakes, clays, and wetlands, they are most evident in the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. “The largest expanses of them are in coastal areas where you have salt marshes or large glacial lakes, as in parts of the Passaic River basin,” says Scott Stanford, a research scientist with NJGS and lead author of the estimate. Some of the very weakest soils, Stanford adds, are in areas of filled marshland, including places along the Hudson waterfront, around Newark Bay and the Meadowlands, and along the Arthur Kill.

Faults in these areas—and in the coastal plain generally—are far below the ground, perhaps several hundred to a thousand feet down, making identification difficult. “There are numerous faults upon which you might get earthquake movement that we can’t see, because they’re covered by younger sediments,” Stanford says.

This combination of hidden faults and weak soils worries scientists, who are all too aware that parts of the coastal plain and Piedmont are among the most densely populated and developed areas in the state. (The HAZUS computer model also has a “built environment” component, which summarizes, among other things, types of buildings in a given area.) For this reason, such areas would be in the most jeopardy in the event of a large earthquake.

“Any vulnerable structure on these weak soils would have a higher failure hazard,” Stanford says. And the scary truth is that many structures in New Jersey’s largest cities, not to mention New York City, would be vulnerable, since they’re older and built before anyone gave much thought to earthquake-related engineering and construction codes.

For example, in the study’s loss estimate for Essex County, which includes Newark, the state’s largest city, a magnitude 6 event would result in damage to 81,600 buildings, including almost 10,000 extensively or completely; 36,000 people either displaced from their homes or forced to seek short-term shelter; almost $9 million in economic losses from property damage and business interruption; and close to 3,300 injuries and 50 fatalities. (The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation has conducted a similar assessment for New York City, at nycem.org.)

All of this suggests the central irony of New Jersey geology: The upland areas that are most prone to earthquakes—the counties in or around the Ramapo Fault, which has spawned a network of splays, or  auxiliary faults—are much less densely populated and sit, for the most part, on good bedrock. These areas are not invulnerable, certainly, but, by almost all measures, they would not sustain very severe damage, even in the event of a higher magnitude earthquake. The same can’t be said for other parts of the state, where the earthquake hazard is lower but the vulnerability far greater. Here, the best we can do is to prepare—both in terms of better building codes and a constantly improving emergency response.

Meanwhile, scientists like Rutgers’s Gates struggle to understand the Earth’s quirky seismic timetable: “The big thing with earthquakes is that you can commonly predict where they are going to occur,” Gates says. “When they’re going to come, well, we’re nowhere near being able to figure that out.”

***********************

Planning for the Big One

For the men and women of the state police who manage and support the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the response to some events, like hurricanes, can be marshalled in advance. But an earthquake is what responders call a no-notice event.

In New Jersey, even minor earthquakes—like the one that shook parts of Somerset County in February—attract the notice of local, county, and OEM officials, who continuously monitor events around the state from their Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (The ROIC) in West Trenton, a multimillion dollar command-and-control facility that has been built to withstand 125 mph winds and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. In the event of a very large earthquake, during which local and county resources are apt to become quickly overwhelmed, command and control authority would almost instantly pass to West Trenton.

Here, officials from the state police, representatives of a galaxy of other state agencies, and a variety of communications and other experts would assemble in the cavernous and ultra-high tech Emergency Operations Center to oversee the state’s response. “A high-level earthquake would definitely cause the governor to declare a state of emergency,” says OEM public information officer Nicholas J. Morici. “And once that takes place, our emergency operations plan would be put in motion.”

Emergency officials have modeled that plan—one that can be adapted to any no-notice event, including a terrorist attack—on response methodologies developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At its core is a series of seventeen emergency support functions, ranging from transportation to firefighting, debris removal, search and rescue, public health, and medical services. A high-magnitude event would likely activate all of these functions, says Morici, along with the human and physical resources needed to carry them out—cranes and heavy trucks for debris removal, fire trucks and teams for firefighting, doctors and EMTs for medical services, buses and personnel carriers for transportation, and so on.

This is where an expert like Tom Rafferty comes in. Rafferty is a Geographic Information Systems Specialist attached to the OEM. His job during an emergency is to keep track electronically of which resources are where in the state, so they can be deployed quickly to where they are needed. “We have a massive database called the Resource Directory Database in which we have geolocated municipal, county, and state assets to a very detailed map of New Jersey,” Rafferty says. “That way, if there is an emergency like an earthquake going on in one area, the emergency managers can quickly say to me, for instance, ‘We have major debris and damage on this spot of the map. Show us the location of the nearest heavy hauler. Show us the next closest location,’ and so on.”

A very large quake, Rafferty says, “could overwhelm resources that we have as a state.” In that event, OEM has the authority to reach out to FEMA for additional resources and assistance. It can also call upon the private sector—the Resource Directory has been expanded to include non-government assets—and to a network of volunteers. “No one has ever said, ‘We don’t want to help,’” Rafferty says. New Jersey officials can also request assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an agreement among the states to help each other in times of extreme crisis.

“You always plan for the worst,” Rafferty says, “and that way when the worst doesn’t happen, you feel you can handle it if and when it does.”

Contributing editor Wayne J. Guglielmo lives in Mahwah, near the Ramapo Fault.

Babylon the Great Finally Updates Her Nukes

PHOTOGRAPH: CHARLES HAYMOND/U.S. AIR FORCE

The Air Force Finally Ditches Its Nuclear Command Floppy Disks

The Air Force Has Stopped Using 8-Inch Floppy Disks for Missile Command

For decades, the Air Force’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System—an internal chat protocol—has relied on 8-inch floppy disks running on an IBM Series/1 computer. To be clear, if and when the order comes down to launch nukes, it’ll route through SACCS. As recently as 2014, USAF officials insisted that running on obsolete, isolated tech actually made the system more secure. But they’ve apparently had a change of heart, as C4isrnet reports this week. As of June, they’ve upgraded to a “highly-secure solid state digital storage solution.” It’s unclear to what extent the rest of the system has been upgraded as well, but at least they’ve said goodbye to 70s-era data storage.

The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12)

New York City is Past Due for an Earthquake

by Jessica Dailey, 03/22/11

filed under: News

New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.

Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.

There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigationrates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.

John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.

The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.

Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”

Over 70 Palestinians injured Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Over 70 Palestinians injured in March of Return protests on Gaza border with Israel

GAZA, Friday, October 18, 2019 (WAFA) – Palestinian medics said 73 Palestinians were injured today when Israeli soldiers stationed on the border with Gaza opened live fire, rubber bullets and shot teargas canisters at hundreds of participants in the weekly March of Return border protests, according to medical sources.

They said 31 people were injured from live bullets and 42 from rubber-coated steel bullets. Dozens were also treated for inhaling teargas.

Palestinians have been protesting every Friday since March 30 of last year at the border with Israel demanding an end to the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and their right to return to the homes they were forced to leave in 1948 in what was known as Palestine and now known as Israel.

Over 200 Palestinians were shot dead in these protests and thousands others injured, many seriously.

M.K.

The fear of escalating into the first nuclear war (Revelation 8 )

Dr Rabia Akhtar speaks at the PIIA on Friday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

The fear of escalation between India and Pakistan is very real’

Shazia Hasan

KARACHI: “Today is the 75th day of the brutal curfew in India-held Kashmir invoking a nuclear threat,” said Dr Rabia Akhtar, director of a policy research centre and a member of the prime minister’s advisory council on foreign affairs.

She was speaking at a programme titled ‘Kashmir: a Nuclear Flashpoint’ at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on Friday.

“Since February, when India attacked Pakistan in Balakot, people have been worried. But during the Balakot strikes, Prime Minister Imran Khan refrained from the ‘N’ word. Neither did the DG ISPR mention it,” she continued.

A member of the PM’s advisory council on foreign affairs says going to war over Kashmir will not go well with a broken economy

“When the prime minister visited the United States earlier in July and met President Trump there, he told him about the Kashmir crisis. Then he comes back and faces the August 5 development there with India revoking the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, it was Syria, Iran, the Turks and the Kurds whom the world watched and spoke about but India has internationalised Kashmir,” she said.

Dr Akhtar, who is the director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR), said that in a January 2002 interview, former adviser to Pakistan’s National Command Authority and pioneer director general of the Strategic Plans Division retired Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai had mentioned four thresholds for Pakistan in case India attacked Islamabad such as the special threshold, the military, economic and socio-political threshold. “At the time, our forces were on a 10-month stand-off,” she explained.

She said that literature written by Western scholars on the issue showed Pakistan as the weaker power that must maintain escalation dominance.

They say that Pakistan will be first to use nuclear weapons,” she said, adding: “But, there always used to be a third-party intervention in crisis termination until the Pulwama incident when Pakistan unconditionally released India’s pilot. It was unprecedented behaviour from Pakistan.”

“Still, the Indian media said that it was Pakistan’s weakness which made us do that. Not much credit has been given to Pakistan in crisis termination in the Pulwama and Balakot crisis but not only did we release their pilot we also kept our strikes way over the Line of Control [LoC]. So literature needs to be re-written as Pakistan is not really predictable,” Dr Akhtar pointed out.

“India believes that Pakistan should accept what India did on Aug 5 as fait accompli and any firing from this side will be seen by them as an act of war. Therefore, Pakistan needs to wait till the curfew in India-held Kashmir is lifted. Going to war over Kashmir will not go well with a country with a broken economy,” she added.

“In any crisis situation between Pakistan and India, Kashmir as India says is the only point of dispute with Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan ‘saffronises’ India. But we don’t know this India. We have never dealt with Hindu [nationalism]. Modi is here for the next five years and after him there are going to be more like him. We are not developing strategies looking at this,” she said.

The fear of escalation is very real. There is currently no third party interested in intervening too. The US has its hands full with other things, China doesn’t want to interfere, the Arab nations’ attitude is also quite clear. So no one wants to take India head on. Besides, they see Kashmir as an internal matter and not bilateral. India is talking of Jammu & Kashmir as its jurisdiction and we here want to go back to before Aug 5. We want peace,” she said.

“Pakistan going to war and Pakistan posing for war are different things. We have been saying ‘Kashmir banayga Pakistan’ [Kashmir will be Pakistan] for over 72 years now but there has been lack of action from us since Aug 5,” she said, adding that the situation was tense as the people here did not want to hear about economic matters in case of war. They only care of the plight of the people of India-held Kashmir.

“If the people take it on themselves to cross the Line of Control, we have a problem,” she concluded.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger Before the First Nuclear War

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger

October 19, 2019, 12:30 PM MDT

Key Point: India has its nukes pointed at China and Pakistan, two other nuclear powers.

India is estimated to have produced enough military plutonium for 150 to 200 nuclear warheads, but has likely produced only 130 to 140,” according to Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. “Nonetheless, additional plutonium will be required to produce warheads for missiles now under development, and India is reportedly building several new plutonium production facilities.”

In addition, “India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal, with at least five new weapon systems now under development to complement or replace existing nuclear-capable aircraft, land-based delivery systems, and sea-based systems.”

Unlike the missile-centric U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, India still heavily relies on bombers, perhaps not unexpected for a nation that fielded its first nuclear-capable ballistic missile in 2003. Kristensen and Korda estimate India maintains three or four nuclear strike squadrons of Cold War-vintage, French-made Mirage 2000H and Jaguar IS/IB aircraft targeted at Pakistan and China.

“Despite the upgrades, the original nuclear bombers are getting old and India is probably searching for a modern fighter-bomber that could potentially take over the air-based nuclear strike role in the future,” the report notes. India is buying thirty-six French Rafale fighters that carry nuclear weapons in French service, and presumably could do for India.

India’s nuclear missile force is only fifteen years old, but it already has four types of land-based ballistic missiles: the short-range Prithvi-II and Agni-I, the medium-range Agni-II and the intermediate-range Agni-III. “At least two other longer-range Agni missiles are under development: the Agni-IV and Agni-V,” says the report. “It remains to be seen how many of these missile types India plans to fully develop and keep in its arsenal. Some may serve as technology development programs toward longer-range missiles.”

It’s too late: Iran Deal to be Sealed with Blood (Revelation 6:6)

U.S.-Iran tensions could potentially escalate into a major conflict. All recent efforts at de-escalation have been futile. World leaders with close relations to President Donald Trump have tried to intercede, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and leaders of Iraq and Oman. And now Pakistan has offered to mediate. But only international and regional diplomatic approaches will lead to a solution that might be acceptable to both Washington and Tehran.

Relations have soured since the 1979 hostage-taking and embassy-ransacking by Iranian militants that were endorsed by then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, but the current dispute began with President Donald Trump’s May 8, 2018, decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This has been followed by stringent sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Under the JCPOA, Iran’s nuclear program was tightly restricted and the quid-pro-quo was the end of sanctions that had severely damaged the nation’s economy. The U.S. and its European allies agree that Iran’s nuclear activities must be curbed beyond the ten-year term of the agreement and that Iran must curtail its ballistic missile program and curb its destabilizing actions in the region.

Tensions intensified a few weeks after Trump pulled out of the JCPOA when the U.S. demanded, inter alia, that Iran drop its nuclear program and pull out of the Syrian war or face severe sanctions. Tehran rejected all the U.S. demands. With the imposition of the first round of sanctions (originally lifted as part of the JCPOA) on August 7, the U.S. has continued to tighten sanctions and put “maximum pressure” on Iran to compel it to agree to a new deal.

In addition to economic sanctions, the U.S. designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. That designation came with wide-ranging economic and travel sanctions on its members. The U.S. has also targeted Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and associates, and subsequently Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif (whose Ph.D. dissertation I supervised at the University of Denver Graduate School of International Studies, now the Korbel School) for acting on Khamenei’s behalf. The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force bombers to the Middle East.

In response, Iran has been enriching uranium beyond the level authorized under the JCPOA and the International Atomic Energy Agency has now reported that Iran is no longer in compliance with its commitments under the agreement. And that is not all: Iran has conducted a new ballistic missile test and targeted tankers in the very busy Strait of Hormuz, through which about 20 percent of the world’s oil passes. It has also installed a new missile defense system.

Last month, a large-scale attack severely damaged Saudi energy infrastructure, for which the rebel Houthis in Yemen claimed responsibility, but U.S. officials have questioned the Houthi origin of the attack, suspecting Iran to be the real culprit. This strike signals Iran’s capability to threaten U.S. interests, as well as U.S. allies.

Earlier, in June, Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. drone, claiming it had entered Iranian air space. President Trump ordered a strike on three Iranian sites, which he later called off.

Important measures to prevent a major U.S.-Iran conflict include:

  • European initiatives to facilitate legitimate trade deals with Iran which are aimed at preserving the JCPOA;
  • Financial relief to Iran by the U.S. re-establishing some waivers on Iranian oil exports and Europeans opening credit lines to assist Iran’s economy; and
  • Continued international and regional mediation efforts. A meeting between Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and President Trump, which Rouhani says will occur only after sanctions are lifted, will not suffice to reach a long-term solution.

Sanctions and negotiations are not mutually exclusive.

Ved Nanda is a distinguished university professor and director of the Ved Nanda Center for International Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. His column appears once a month and he welcomes comments at vnanda@law.du.edu.

Millions March for the Antichrist

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and HADI MIZBAN
Associated Press

KARBALA, Iraq (AP) – Millions of pilgrims made their way on foot to the Iraqi city of Karbala on Saturday for the Shiite pilgrimage of Arbaeen, regarded as the largest annual public gathering in the world.

The commemoration marks the 40th day following the death of a Shiite saint in the 7th century and included more than 2 million Iranians and other Shiites from abroad. Militias patrolled roads leading into the city and escorted Iranian pilgrims from the border, hiking up security for processions that have previously been targeted by Sunni militant groups with bloody bombings.

This year’s Arbaeen ceremonies take place amid widespread anger in Iraq’s Shiite south over the government’s heavy crackdown on protests that erupted earlier this month against unemployment, corruption and government mismanagement. The demonstrations raged across Iraq for seven days and most prominent among the protesters were young Shiites, unleashing their frustration with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

The security crackdown, which killed more than 100 and wounded thousands, put down the protests last week, but a new round of demonstrations has been called for Oct. 25.

The political turmoil surfaced in the Arbaeen ceremonies. Followers of populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr marched toward Karbala chanting, “No to America, no to Israel, no to corruption” and “Baghdad is free, corruption must go!”

In a message marking the day, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi vowed to “confront with strength and determination all forms of corruption and achieve justice.” The 77-year-old premier, who took office last year, has promised to address protesters’ demands but has also told them there is no “magic solution” for Iraq’s accumulated problems, including high unemployment, corruption, dilapidated public services and poor security.

Pilgrims streamed toward Karbala on foot from the cities of Najaf, 70 kilometers (45 miles) away, Baghdad, 90 kilometers (55 miles) to the north, and other places farther afield, resting along the way in tents lined with foam mattresses and fleece blankets.

The pilgrimage, known in Arabic as the Ziara, marks the anniversary of the 40th day of mourning following the 7th century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein at the hands of the Muslim Umayyad forces in the Battle of Karbala, during the tumultuous first century of Islam’s history.

Hussein was seen by his followers as the rightful heir of the prophet’s legacy. When he refused to pledge allegiance to the Umayyad caliphate, he was killed in the battle, cementing the schism between Sunni and Shiite Islam. Hussein’s half-brother Abbas was also killed in the battle.

Sunnis outnumber Shiites by a wide margin among the world’s estimated 1.5 billion Muslims, and Shiite rituals are far less known.

But Arbaeen – Arabic for the number forty – draws far more pilgrims than the hajj in Saudi Arabia, a pilgrimage required once in a lifetime of every Muslim who can afford it and is physically able to make it.

The hajj is considered one of the five pillars of Islam and an obligation for all Muslims – Sunni and Shiite. The Ziara is voluntary and holds little significance in Sunni tradition.

In recent years, the Iraqi government says Karbala received 10-20 million visitors during the event. Saudi authorities regulate the hajj tradition tightly, driving up costs for pilgrims and depriving it of some of the spontaneity seen in the Ziara. For many Muslims who cannot afford to go on the hajj or cannot get the Saudi visa, the Ziara is a satisfying alternative.

In neighboring Shiite-majority Iran, Arbaeen is a national holiday. Thousands in Tehran marched toward a nearby town south of the capital to mourn at the shrine of Shiite saint Abdul Azim.

Iran’s deputy interior ministry, Hossein Zolfaghari said that more than 3.4 million Iranians traveled to Iraq and 2 million of them have returned.

___

Abdul-Zahra reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Historic Earthquakes

Near New York City, New York

1884 08 10 19:07 UTC

Magnitude 5.5

Intensity VII

USGS.gov

This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.

Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.

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Preparing for the Bowls of Wrath (Revelation 16)

U.S., RUSSIA AND EUROPE HOLD BACK-TO-BACK NUCLEAR WAR GAMES ACROSS THE GLOBE

By Tom O’Connor On 10/18/19 at 5:36 PM EDT

WORLD INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS RUSSIA EUROPE

United States, Russia and Europe have all planned near-concurrent nuclear war games across the globe, testing their strategic capabilities in the event of a conflict

U.S. Strategic Command commenced on Friday its “annual command and control exercises” “Global Thunder” and “Vigilant Shield 20” alongside the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. The drills were designed to “assess all USSTRATCOM mission areas and joint and field training operational readiness, with a specific focus on nuclear readiness.”

“This exercise employs global operations in coordination with other combatant commands, services, appropriate U.S. government agencies, and allies to deter, detect and, if necessary, defeat strategic attacks against the United States and its allies,” U.S. Strategic Command said in a statement.Meanwhile, in Russia, President Vladimir Putin just wrapped up his own “Thunder 2019” exercise, involving some 12,000 troops, five nuclear submarines, 105 aircraft and 213 missile launchers. The three-day, cross-continental display that concluded Thursday included the firing of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles at Russia’s Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk province and the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

Russia tests an RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Mirny, Arkhangelsk province, October 17, as part of the Thunder 2019 Strategic Missile Forces drills. Russia and the U.S. have by most of the world’s nuclear weapons and both have nuclear triads capable of delivering them from land, sea and air.

RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE

The Russian military tested a variety of weapons including the RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile, the Sineva ballistic missile, and the Iskander-K short-range mobile cruise missile system—all capable of being equipped with nuclear weapons. The advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system was also tested.

I terrain, various road surfaces, and other obstacles.”

Elsewhere in Europe, however, much more secretive nuclear-related maneuvers were taking place, and the U.S. was again involved. The NATO Western military alliance conducted the “Steadfast Noon” exercise involving German Tornado warplanes transporting U.S. B-61 nuclear bombs, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported Friday.

Aircraft from Italy and other NATO nations were involved in the drills that included aircraft taking off from Germany’s Büchel Air Base and the Netherlands’ Volkel Air Base. Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Program, noted to the outlet that U.S. B-52 bombers had just arrived in Europe shortly before the exercise.

NATO has released no official information about this exercise, and has never even confirmed whether or not there were U.S. nuclear weapons at Büchel Air Base. The site, however, was among those included in an accidentally-released NATO report published in July by Belgian newspaper De Morgen.

Another was Incirlik Base in Turkey, something that has grown controversial due to the recently-strained relations between Washington and Ankara, especially over the latter’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 and its invasion of northern Syria. Asked about the security of up to 50 B-61 bombs there, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that “we’re confident, and we have a great air base there, a very powerful air base.”

The series of tests came as decades-long deals ensuring the non-proliferation of such nuclear weapons collapsed. In August, the U.S. left the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a deal struck with the Soviet Union in 1987 to ban the deployment of land-launched missiles ranging from 310 to 3,420 miles, after claiming Moscow’s Novator 9M729, an Iskander-compatible weapon, violated the deal.

Russia denied this and counterclaimed that the Mark-41 Vertical Launch Systems used in Romanian and Polish sites of the Pentagon’s Aegis Ashore missile defense system could be used offensively as well. Just after leaving the agreement, the U.S. tested a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile that flew over 310 miles.

Both Russia and China charged the Trump administration with attempting to instigate an “arms race.”

With Washington and Moscow worlds apart in their attempts to reconcile their many, overlapping policy disputes, the deadline was gradually approaching for another major arms control pact—the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The deal, which expires in 2021, limits the number of nuclear warheads and launchers maintained by the U.S. and Russia. Putin recently said he was still attempting to negotiate the agreement with “no answer so far” from Trump.