16 rioters injured outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Demonstrator hurls rocks at Israeli troops on Gaza border

Demonstrator hurls rocks at Israeli troops on Gaza border

Reuters

16 demonstrators were injured on Friday in clashes with IDF troops on the Gaza Strip border, Channel 13 News reported, citing the Hamas-run “health ministry” in Gaza.

The victims were injured by gas inhalation and by rubber bullets fired by the soldiers.

According to the report, some 4,000 Palestinian Arabs took part in the weekly riots, a lower number compared to the last few months, likely due to the heat wave in the region.

The violent weekly riots along the Gaza-Israel border, known as the “March of the Return”, have been taking place every Friday for more than a year, since March 30, 2018.

Hamas openly admitted last year that most of the Gazans who have been killed in the border riots were members of the group.

Friday’s protests took place two days after Israel announced it would reduce the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip to a range of up to 10 nautical miles until further notice.

According to the announcement, the decision was made following the firing of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israeli territory.

Trump Preps the Saudis for War (Daniel 7)

Trump cites Iran to bypass Congress on Saudi arms sales

(Newser) – The Trump administration on Friday invoked a rarely used provision in federal law to bypass congressional review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing threats the kingdom faces from Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress of the decision to use an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to move ahead with sales of $7 billion in precision guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, without lawmakers‘ approval. Pompeo said, the AP reports, „that an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale“ of the weapons „to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.“ He said the transfers „must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism.“
Pompeo’s move follows President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will send 1,500 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East in response to an unspecified threat from Iran. Democratic critics of the Saudi campaign denounced Friday’s step. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey said the administration did not cite a specific legal or practical reason for using the loophole other than Iran. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the administration was only declaring an emergency because lawmakers would have blocked the transfers. „There is no new ‚emergency‘ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis,“ Murphy said. There is precedent for using the exemption for arms sales to Saudi Arabia: President Ronald Reagan and Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush invoked it.

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

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/normantranscript.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/08/408bdb1d-8734-5959-b892-f359fe1bf6b9/54382834d5e4b.image.jpg

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.

Provocation of Iran WILL cause widespread worldwide woes

President Barack Obama withdrew American combat forces from Iraq in 2011, and by 2014, they would be deployed to assist the Iraqi forces in their fight against the Islamic State in northern and western Iraq.

Iranian-supported militias were allies with the U.S.-backed Iraqi troops, and President Trump’s decision to deploy a U.S. naval carrier group and bomber planes to the Persian Gulf – because of what seems an unsubstantiated Iranian threat – has the potential to be a real game-changer in this region. Iraq is caught between Iran and the U.S. in a potential power play. This recent escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf is transpiring in the aftermath of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

Leaked evidence include photos of Iranian Revolutionary Guards uploading missiles, presumably to attack American and Allied shipping that passes through the Straits of Hormuz. It is no secret much of the world’s oil supplies pass through this waterway that is only 24 miles wide, and the U.S. has been down this road before regarding tensions in the Persian Gulf that threaten crude oil on the global market. In the 1980s, despite the fact that the Reagan administration knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, the much larger concern was protecting Iraqi oil from attacks by Iran. Iran had felt the brunt of the American alignment with Saddam Hussein during that conflict, as Iranian patrol boats had been attacked, and Iranian oil platforms were being destroyed by U.S. forces. A U.S. warship in 1988 shot down an Iranian Airbus, killing nearly 300 civilians.

Many Iranians have a deep-seated hatred of Americans, and it goes far beyond U.S. military intervention in the Iran-Iraq War, backing out of a nuclear deal, or the deployment of U.S. forces to a region with a history of U.S. involvement. The 1953 coup that brought about the overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddegh helped to sow the seeds of resentment toward the American government when President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the green light for CIA covert action that resulted in propping the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the legitimate ruler.

Once the Shah was in power, Pahlavi set out on a bold infrastructure improvement plan, and while this included transportation and irrigation systems and health care, many Iranians resented the Western influence. They saw the regime was based on U.S. power and greed, as well as what some viewed as a regime antithetical to Islam. Many Iranians rejected the authoritarian rule, and dissent was suppressed by the Savak, the secret police force. By the early 1970s, as oil revenues were increasing in Iran, many were enraged at the income disparity tied to oil wealth. Discontent among the Shiite clergy, lower classes, and students would lead to a revolution, and by January 1979, the Shah fled Iran.

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton has said, „The U.S. is not seeking war with the Iranian regime.“ Yet Bolton has spoke of a U.S. military response in the event of an attack by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, regular Iranian forces, and proxy groups to include Iran’s renowned proxy, Hezbollah. While the U.S. military might eclipse Iran in numbers and overall military infrastructure, Iran does not require a mammoth navy to impede shipping through the Straits of Hormuz, which could paralyze the supply of oil on a global level, and ravage economies.

Brent Been is a Tahlequah educator who is currently teaching at Alice Robertson Junior High in Muskogee.

Palestinians Protest Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Roughly 3,000 Palestinians protest along the Gaza Security Fence

IDF troops face Palestinian protesters over the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip on March 30, a year after they began the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

BY JERUSALEM POST STAFF
 MAY 24, 2019 18:03

 

Hamas officials are taking part in the violent clashes, which include throwing explosives on IDF soldiers and attempts to breach the fence.
A Palestinian medic was injured due to an IDF gas grenade East of khan Younis, Palestinian media reported. A yet unknown number of protesters was also injured.
The Friday protest takes place three days after Israeli media reported that an early agreement to a cease fire dealwas reached between Israel and Hamas. These reports were quickly dismissed by both parties.

Pakistan Tests Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Shaheen II, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, according to Pakistan capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 kilometers, during a training launch in this photo released by Inter Services Public Relations, May 23, 2019.
Shaheen II, surface-to-surface ballistic missile, according to Pakistan capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 kilometers, during a training launch in this photo released by Inter Services Public Relations, May 23, 2019.

Pakistan says it has successfully conducted a “training launch” of a ballistic missile capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads up to 1,500 kilometers.

The move came amid Pakistan’s heightened military tensions with neighboring rival India, and it is seen by observers as part of the efforts Islamabad is making to keep pace with New Delhi’s massive investments in military hardware and advancements.

After the indigenously produced Shaheen-II medium range rocket was fired into the Arabian Sea on Thursday, military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said that it is “a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region.”

Ghafoor noted the head of the military unit that oversees the country’s nuclear program witnessed the training launch along with other senior officials, scientists and engineers.

“President (Arif Alvi) and Prime Minister of Pakistan (Imran Khan) have also conveyed their congratulations on the achievement,” he added.

Pakistani military personnel stand beside a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile during Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2019.
Pakistani military personnel stand beside a Shaheen III surface-to-surface ballistic missile during Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2019.

Pakistan has already test-fired the Shaheen-III nuclear-capable missile with a range of up to 1,700 miles, enabling it to strike all corners of India and reach deep into the Middle East, including Israel.

Thursday’s missile launch came a day after Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke briefly with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in Kyrgyzstan. Following what he said was an informal interaction with Swaraj, Qureshi said he conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to engage in a dialogue with India to resolve all bilateral matters through negotiations.

“We want to live like good neighbors and settle our outstanding issues through talks,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in March the country had shot down a satellite in low orbit, making it the fourth country, after the United States, China and Russia, to have used an anti-satellite weapon.

Islamabad had criticized the move as a “matter of grave concern” and a militarization of space by New Delhi.

In the backdrop of India’s recent anti-satellite tests, Pakistan announced Wednesday it has signed a joint document with Russia on no-first placement of weapons in outer space. An official statement said the two countries have agreed to “make all possible efforts to prevent outer space from becoming an arena for military confrontation and to ensure security in our space activities.”

Analysts estimate that both the South Asian rivals possess about 100 nuclear warheads each.

Brink of war

Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since 1947 and came close to the brink of another war earlier this year.

In mid-February, a suicide bomber struck an Indian paramilitary convoy in the disputed Kashmir territory, killing 40 security personnel. The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombing, fueling tensions between India and Pakistan despite Islamabad’s denial it had nothing to do with the attack.

Indian fighter planes on Feb. 26 flew into Pakistan and carried out airstrikes against what New Delhi alleged was a JeM training camp in the mountainous town of Balakot. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with airstrikes of its own, shooting down an Indian plane and capturing its pilot in an ensuing fight over the disputed Kashmir border.

The aerial clash was the first between Pakistan and India in five decades, dangerously escalating tensions to a point where both countries reportedly had mobilized their missiles. Islamabad returned the pilot two days later, and the tensions have since eased, following intervention by major powers, including the United States and China.

1,700 Amputations Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Palestinian amputees break their Ramadan fast at a community center in Rafah, which was destroyed by Israeli warplanes.
Palestinian amputees break their Ramadan fast at a community center in Rafah, which was destroyed by Israeli warplanes.
Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images

1,700 Youths in Gaza Face Amputation Due to Israeli Sniper Violence

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. Her books includeEnding the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer co-authored with David Wildman.

My friend Andrew Rubin is an amputee. He’s lost his right hand, lower arm, right foot, and lower leg.

He used to be an avid runner and cyclist. He can’t do much of that anymore, although his walking is getting much better. Soon he might be able to run with his artificial leg.

Andrew is incredibly lucky.

The medical catastrophe that left his hand and foot so terribly damaged didn’t kill him. But when his limbs never healed even after a decade, he decided to undergo the amputations. It was his choice, and it was made much easier because he knew what lay ahead: the most advanced artificial limbs ever imagined. 

Andrew is lucky for another reason: He doesn’t live in Gaza.

According to the United Nations, 1,700 young Gazans are facing amputation, mainly of their legs, in the next two years. They’re among the 7,000 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza shot by Israeli snipers over the last year. 

Since last spring, thousands of Palestinians in Israeli-occupied Gaza have poured out of their teeming refugee camps and houses every Friday to join nonviolent protests, demanding an end to the siege that’s destroying their lives, and the right to return to the homes Israel displaced them from.

Even though they were nonviolent, they were met by Israeli snipers from the beginning. Children, journalists, and medics were targeted too.

International law prohibits using live fire against unarmed civilians unless the police or soldiers are in imminent danger of death. That’s not the case in Gaza. A UN investigation of 189 killings during the first nine months of the protests found that Israeli forces may have committed war crimes.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed so far. Stunningly, more than 29,000 have been wounded — including those 7,000 by live fire. So far, 120 have had to endure amputations — including 20 children.

Anyplace else, their limbs might’ve been saved.

But Gaza has been under Israeli military siege for more than 10 years. Hospitals are massively under-equipped, many of them seriously damaged by Israeli bombing. The delicate surgery needed to save shattered bones is virtually impossible there, and the surgeons have no access to the most up-to-date methods.

Andrew had a choice about his amputations. Gazans don’t.

The UN needs $20 million to fill the immediate health funding gap in Gaza. Otherwise, those 1,700 young Gazans face the catastrophic loss of arms and legs, or risk dying of infection. They’ll have virtually no access to the advanced artificial hands, legs, and feet that my friend Andrew uses.

Unfortunately, U.S. taxpayers are funding this catastrophe.

Every year, we send $3.8 billion directly to the Israeli military — no strings attached — and American companies make the tear gas and other weapons that Israel deploys against demonstrators. Washington makes sure that no Israeli officials, political or military, are ever held accountable at the United Nations for potential war crimes.

Crueler still, the Trump administration has cut off funding for the very UN refugee agency that staffs health clinics in Gaza, even as it funds the Israeli military that’s filling them with gunshot victims.

The protests, overwhelmingly nonviolent, continue — and the killing has continued too, week after week. Meanwhile, there are so many disabled kids in Gaza now that the beleaguered territory is setting up special sports leagues for them.

Israel needs to call off its snipers, lift the siege of Gaza, and stop violating the human and political rights of Palestinians. And until they do, American taxpayers need to close their checkbook.

Russia Ups the Nuclear Ante

RUSSIA SENDS NUCLEAR BOMBERS OFF U.S. COAST TWICE IN 2 DAYS, AIR FORCE RESPONDS

A Russian Tu-95 strategic bomber and missile carrier (top) is accompanied by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet in international airspace off the coast of Alaska, on May 22. The series of intercepts was the second of its kind in two days.PHOTO: NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND

Russia has flown nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets off the coast of Alaska twice in two days, drawing a response from the U.S. Air Force.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday in a statement that „two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out planned flights in the airspace over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands.“ The statement was nearly identical to that of the previous day, when four Tu-95MSs took a similar route and were also „escorted by F-22 fighter jets of the USAF“ at certain points.

This time the flight took 11 hours, as opposed to more than 12 last time, but Moscow again maintained that „long-range pilots make regular flights over neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Caspian seas and Pacific Ocean“ and that this was „carried out in strict accordance with the International Airspace Management System without violating the borders of other states.“

And once again, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) put out a statement that also noted the presence of Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

NORAD, which is the joint U.S.-Canadian organization that guards the skies over the northern stretch of North America that comprises the territory of the two allies, dispatched four F-22 fighter jets, accompanied by a KC-135 refueling aircraft and an E-3 airborne early warning and control aircraft. The entire incident took place in international airspace, over Alaska’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Two pairs of F-22 fighter jets, each with an E-3 intercepted Tu-95 bombers Su-35 fighter jets entering the Alaskan ADIZ May 21. The bombers entered the ADIZ and were intercepted by two F-22s, exited and then re-entered the Alaskan ADIZ accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets,“ a tweet from NORAD’s official account read.

„NORAD committed an additional two F-22s and E-3 to relieve the initial intercept aircraft. A KC-135 refueling aircraft supported both of NORAD’s intercept teams. The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time entered U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace,“ it added.

As Newsweek noted in coverage of the previous day’s incident, such occurrences were not uncommon as the U.S. and Russian mainlands were within 55 miles of one another and the two countries actually shared a chain of Bering Sea islands known as the Aleutian Islands. In a follow-up tweet, NORAD noted that it „intercepted an avg of approx. six to seven Russian sorties entering its ADIZ since Russia resumed long range aviation patrols in 2007.“

„#WeHaveTheWatch,“ NORAD added, referring to a popular U.S. Navy slogan.

In yesterday’s series of tweets, NORAD cited Air Force General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the head of the military’s Northern Command, as saying, „Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens and vital infrastructure starts with detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft in our airspace. We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.“

In two separate incidents that took place weeks apart in March, Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft and a U.S. B-52H strategic bomber flying over the Baltic Sea, where forces belonging both to Moscow and the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance were located.

Pentagon Has Plan to Send 120K Troops to Iran

(NEWSER) – Plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter threats from Iran were unveiled at what appears to have been an exceptionally leaky meeting of national security aides last week, reports the New York Times, which cites more than half a dozen sources. The sources say Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented updated military plans that had been ordered by a group of administration hardliners led by national security adviser John Bolton. The 120,000 figure was the upper limit in a range of options in case Iran attacks US forces or steps up its nuclear plans, none of which included an actual invasion of Iran, the sources say.

Insiders say White House aides are divided over how to respond to intelligence reports that Iran’s proxy forces may be preparing to attack US forces in the region. The Times notes that it’s unclear whether the options were presented to President Trump, nor whether he would be willing to deploy such a large number of troops to the Middle East. Trump said Monday that Iran could face a „bad problem“ after reports that oil tankers were sabotaged in the Persian Gulf, USA Today reports. „They’re not going to be happy,“ he said. When asked what he meant by a „bad problem,“ Trump replied: „You can figure it out yourself.“ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has discussed tensions with Iran with several European and Middle Eastern leaders over the last week and will meet Vladimir Putin in Russia on Tuesday, the Guardian reports. (Last month, Trump labeled Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.)

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

ramapo fault line eastern united states | ... Madrid Fault Line experiences an earthquake, so may the east coast

Living on the Fault Line

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.”

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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.