More Black Market Uranium Seized (Revelation 8)

Thane crime branch detains 2, claims seizure of 8kg ‘depleted uranium’

MUMBAI Updated: Dec 22, 2016 00:32 IST
Padmja Sinha
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story
The police show the plates that they claim are depleted uranium. (Praful Gangurde/HT)
The Thane crime branch on Wednesday detained two people and claimed to have seized 8 kg of depleted uranium plates worth Rs 24 crore from them. The officials are investigating the case for further information.Joint commissioner of police Ashutosh Dumbre said, “The detention has been result of the efforts put by the officials under the guidance of Deputy Commissioner of Police Parag Manere and senior police inspector Ravindra Doiphode.”Bharat Shelke, an official who was also part of the investigation team, said, “We got a tip off regarding the uranium from our informers and accordingly we took steps to nab them. The culprits were nabbed near Byke Hotel at Ghodbunder Road and are being grilled for more information.”

The two persons, who have been detained, were allegedly looking for customers and planning to sell it at throw away prices. “The sample of the uranium has been sent to the Bhabha Atomis Research Center (BARC) Lab for testing to establish content and worth of the depleted uranium. As the samples have already been sent it will take at least two days’ time to get the reports. Depending on the BARC report, we will take further action,” added Shelke.
When HT asked the official if there are chances that others too are involved in a similar illegal trade, Shelke said, “Though we are not sure but it is possible. That’s why we are continuously talking to them and grilling them. A detailed FIR would be filed once reports are obtained and we suppose that the investigation will go on for long also we have activated our informers for more clues.”

New Jersey #1 Disaster State: The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

 Kiplinger News
New York Quake
The Sixth Seal: New York Quake
Disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. But some places experience more than their fair share of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and severe weather — so much so that certain locales earn frightening nicknames, such as Tornado Alley. No matter where you live, make sure you have the right kinds and necessary amounts of insurance coverage to protect your finances.
  • Estimated property damage (2006-2013): $26.4 billion
  • Most frequent disasters: damaging wind, winter storms, floods and flash floods
  • Weather-related fatalities (2006-2013): 87
New Jersey earns the top spot on this list, in large part due to damage wrought by Sandy — which had weakened from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone by the time it the Jersey Shore — in October 2012. The state was among the hardest hit by Sandy, which was the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina. Many homes and businesses were destroyed along the Jersey Shore, and a portion of the Atlantic City Boardwalk washed away. Shortly after Sandy hit, another storm brought wet snow that caused more power outages and damage.
Homeowners who live along the coast or in areas where there are frequent storms should take steps before hurricane season begins to protect their homes and finances from damage.

Challenging the Iranian Horn

Burhanettin Duran –
Turkey, in cooperation with Russia, brokered a cease-fire deal for the evacuation of thousands of civilians from eastern Aleppo, which recently fell to the Assad regime. Tired and overwhelmed, many evacuees told the media that only God and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey have stood with them. In order to secure the implementation of the deal, the Turkish government had to mount intense pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tehran and Damascus. In the end, the efforts of the Shiite militia were thwarted before these militias could realize their dream of killing more people in the region.
The close cooperation between Erdoğan and Putin increased the possibility of a general cease-fire in Syria. The president signaled that Turkey could work with Moscow, stating that “the situation in Aleppo must be taken under control if there is interest in reaching a solution in Syria.” With all eyes set on Dec. 27 when Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet to discuss the situation in Syria, Mr. Putin raised the stakes during his trip to Japan by telling reporters that he and Erdoğan had agreed to continue peace talks in Astana. He added that the Astana process wouldn’t be an alternative to the Geneva talks but an effort to complete it.
The Russians, who have been talking to the opposition through the proxy of Turkish officials, are eager to seize the opportunity presented by the transition in the U.S. Moving forward, a handful of questions will require an answer: In the wake of the fall of Aleppo, could the Astana summit lead to a general cease-fire? Or are these talks just a ploy to give the regime some time before the Idlib offensive? If the parties agree on a general cease-fire, could Bashar Assad and the opposition engage in a political process?
Here are some additional questions: How will Donald Trump, who pledged to take money from the Gulf to set up safe zones in Syria, react to the most recent developments? Can the U.S. strike a balance between the president-elect’s commitment to working with Assad and limiting Iran’s influence over the Middle East?
Right now, everything is up in the air.
My opinion is that talks between Turkey and Russia could yield two results: First, we could witness a trickle-down effect from the violent clashes between the regime and the opposition as all parties temporarily focus on defeating Daesh. More importantly, the recent developmentscould pave the way for a Turkish-backed offensive against the PKK’s Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) armed wing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Manbij and elsewhere – a undesirable move that certain countries are attempting to stop by threatening to spread fake news associating Turkey with Daesh. The fact that two major U.S. newspapers recently publicized a report in the U.K. wasn’t lost on anyone. Before long, the Western media, which has a crush on the PKK, could start talking about Turkey’s alleged ties to Daesh.
Secondly, Turkey’s fight against the PKK-YPG in Syria could trigger a new wave of violence in Iraq. Recent statements by Iraq’s Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and the U.S. State Department urging the PKK to leave Sinjar, coupled with a phone call between President Erdoğan and his American counterpart focusing on Tal Afar and Sinjar, indicate that there could be some movement in Iraq soon. And any movement there could cripple Iran’s efforts to create a transit route to Syria through the proxy of Shiite militias and the PKK.
Donald Trump’s surprise election victory represents a clear warning that Washington will no longer tolerate Iranian expansionism in the Middle East. Over the next few months, Tehran will have to start playing defense in order to maintain its regional influence. The first salvo was fired when the Republican-controlled Congress passed a 10-year extension against Iran – which was later vetoed by President Obama. Again, Turkey’s outreach campaign to Sunni tribes in Iraq and Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Muqtada al-Sadr both indicate that the Iranians will no longer enjoy unchallenged control over Iraq.
A new balance of power is emerging between Russia and the U.S. as well as among regional powers including Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Why Moqtada Is The Antichrist (Revelation 13)

Muqtada’s metamorphosis lies between maniacal and Machiavellian.
Zach Abels
April 24, 2016
Who are you and what have you done with Muqtada al-Sadr? The man impersonating Iraq’s firebrand Shia cleric gave himself away early Wednesday when he called on the United Nations and Organization for Islamic Cooperation to mediate the country’s boiling political crisis. Cue spit take. How does one go from rabid warlord to Iraqi Gandhi in the space of a decade? Muqtada’s dumbfounding metamorphosis lies somewhere between maniacal and Machiavellian.
Al-Sadr is the most revered name in Shia Iraq and, for many, synonymous with unflinching anti-imperialism. Before Muqtada surfaced in Western newspapers, the al-Sadr family name had already been twice immortalized by martyrdom. Sayyid Muhammad al-Sadr played an active role in the 1920 uprising against the British. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (in folklore, Sadr I) helped establish the Islamic Dawa Party in 1958 to defend the hawza, or community of Shia scholarship, against the secularization of Iraqi society. Saddam Hussein hanged Baqir on April 8, 1980—he was the first Grand Ayatollah to be executed in modern history.
Whereas Baqir advocated for a political revolution, his cousin Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (Sadr II) built a mass movement, one that would restore Shiism’s relevance to the spiritual and sociopolitical needs of the faithful. After the United States routed the Iraqi military and expelled it from Kuwait in 1991, the Shia rose up in the hope that Washington would come to their aid. No help came. Following Saddam’s horrific suppression of the Shaaban Intifada, Iraq’s Shia poor were angry and fearful. Compounding the suffering, UN sanctions devastated the Iraqi masses rather than the political elite supposedly targeted. Sadiq’s overt hostility to the West resonated profoundly. He prefaced his Friday sermons with “No, no to America! No, no to Israel!” Saddam assassinated Sadiq and his two elder sons on February 19, 1999.
Muqtada assumed leadership over the Sadrist movement after the murder of his father and brothers. The coalition invasion enabled Muqtada to transform himself from little known, modestly credentialed cleric to one of the most important political figures in post-Saddam Iraq. Muqtada’s vigorous nationalism and unwavering anti-Americanism were central to his popular appeal. When Washington set up the Iraqi Governing Council on July 13, 2003, rival Shia and secular leaders eagerly joined. Muqtada did not. More so than any other leader in occupied Iraq, Muqtada understood the grave domestic consequences of being perceived as a puppet of a foreign entity.
Muqtada tailored his messaging to the young, poor, urbanized Shia. International Crisis Group observed in 2006 that, from the outset, Muqtada “gave voice to a proud, authentic popular identity while advocating violent struggle against the root causes of oppression.” As far as the Sadrists were concerned, the root causes of oppression in post-Saddam Iraq emanated, above all, from the American occupying force.
Only a true Iraqi, Muqtada argued, could legitimately wield religious and political power over Iraq’s Shia. While other Shia leaders adopted a conciliatory posture towards coalition forces, Muqtada invoked his father’s hostility towards the West and framed the occupation as the continuation of the abject suffering imposed upon Iraq’s Shia during the sanctions regime the previous decade.
Muqtada formed the Mahdi Army (Jaysh al-Mahdi or JAM) in June 2003. Lebanese Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh reportedly helped form JAM by recruiting Kuwaiti and Saudi Shia, and then sending them to Lebanon for basic militia training.
In the eyes of many, Muqtada’s hands will forever be stained with the blood of Americans and Iraqis alike. On April 4, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued an arrest warrant for Muqtada. The Sadrist leader retreated to Kufa and issued a direct call to arms. In a Friday sermon, Muqtada declared, “I and my followers of the believers have come under attack from the occupiers, imperialism, and the appointees. . . . Be on the utmost readiness, and strike them where you meet them.” In Sadr City, JAM fighters pinned down a patrol from the First Cavalry Division and stormed seven police stations in the area. Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and fifty-one were wounded. JAM took up tactical positions in and around the holy shrines of Najaf, Kufa and Karbala. The fighting lasted nearly two months.
A second uprising broke out in early August when JAM fighters attacked a U.S. Marine patrol in Najaf. MNF-I commander General George Casey dispatched the Eleventh Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Second Battalion of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment to neutralize JAM once and for all. Sadr responded by seizing the Imam Ali shrine. The fighting was intense and JAM sustained heavy losses. On August 14, Muqtada gave a press conference that Al Jazeera transmitted in full across the Middle East. “Najaf,” he hyperbolized, “has triumphed over imperialism and imperial hubris.”
Muqtada reaped political capital from the spoils of battles he tactically lost. Not for the first or last time, Muqtada proved capable of deft political pragmatism. He allied with Shia rivals and, in January 2005, claimed twenty-three seats in parliament. The Sadrists were rewarded with the ministries of health, transportation and housing.
On February 22, 2006, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) blew up the al-Askari Shia shrine in Samarra, dragging JAM into the unforgiving, brutal civil war phase of the conflict. Every act of violence committed by a Shia death squad was attributed to JAM, regardless of verifiable affiliation. By March 2007, the U.S. military assessed that JAM had “replaced AQ-I as the most dangerous accelerant of potentially self-sustaining sectarian violence in Iraq.” The “Shia extremists” President Bush threatened in his 2007 State of the Union undoubtedly referred to Muqtada and his followers. (Few Westerners could distinguish between JAM, the Badr Organization, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah back then. A Shia militia was a Shia militia.)
Muqtada disappeared from view in January 2007. Four months later, he resurfaced and championed intersectarian unity in the face of AQI, doubling down on his nationalist rhetoric. Muqtada announced on June 13, 2008 that he was transforming JAM into a nonviolent social-services organization; on August 28, he ordered JAM to cease all paramilitary activity. He would relabel JAM the Promised Day Brigades and winnow it down into a small, elite cadre of tightly controlled militiamen. Muqtada all but vanished from Iraq’s militia landscape. On August 6, 2013, Muqtada signaled he would withdraw from political life as well, wishing not “to be part of a conspiracy against the Iraqi people.”
A single day after Mosul fell to ISIS in June 2014, Muqtada breathed life back into the Mahdi Army and christened the Peace Brigades. “No to America! No to Israel!” chanted the militiamen. Along with other powerful Shia militias, they answered Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s call to arms and together formed the Popular Mobilization Forces. Hadi al-Amiri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis have since eclipsed their rivals as the faces of the Shia fight against ISIS. Until very recently, Muqtada remained quiet.
After eight years of hibernation, Muqtada returned to the limelight, ostensibly to help salvage Iraq from the depths of despair. ISIS may not have the chance to destroy Iraq. Low oil prices, political gridlock, and rampant corruption will likely beat the jihadists to the punch. Iraq ranks 161 out of 168 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
Muqtada’s political reentry was more cannonball than splash. For months, thousands of Iraqis have been railing against government corruption and a lack of basic public services. In January 2016, Muqtada awoke from his slumber and publicly delivered Haider al-Abadi a forty-five-day ultimatum to form a new cabinet of technocrats—in stark contrast to the partisan incompetents currently running the ministries. In late February, hundreds of thousands of Sadrists took to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. “No to corruption and the corrupt,” they shouted. Muqtada spoke on stage with oxymoronic Peace Brigaders at his side. “Abadi must carry out grassroots reform. . . . Raise your voice and shout so the corrupt get scared of you.”
The Sadrist masses pitched a sprawling protest camp just outside the Green Zone’s fortified walls. The deadline passed in early March with no progress. Instead of ordering his legions to storm the Green Zone, Muqtada nonchalantly strutted in himself, accompanied by only a handful of aides. The optics were impeccable. The soldiers defending the capital’s most secure zone literally embraced him. “The general in charge of security knelt and kissed his hand,” the Washington Post reported.
Muqtada’s aides set up camp. Five days later, Abadi proposed a reformist, technocratic cabinet to parliament, going so far as to thank Muqtada in his speech. Parliament’s sectarian power brokers predictably erected roadblocks. Muqtada redirected his threat-laden rhetoric their way. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah reportedly attempted to broker a truce between Muqtada and the still-powerful Nouri al-Maliki. He was unsuccessful.
Wednesday witnessed the political crisis’s apex. Muqtada called for “peaceful protests under the same intensity and even more in order to pressure the politicians and the lovers of corruption.” Moreover, “Nobody has the right to stop it otherwise the revolution will take another turn.” And then it happened. Not unlike George H. W. Bush reversing his “read my lips” pledge not to raise taxes, Iraq’s most demagogic nationalist appealed for foreign intervention. “We call upon the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations to interfere to get the Iraqi people out of their ordeal and to correct the political process even through holding early elections.”
Some analysts believe Muqtada is cynically hijacking Abadi’s reform agenda—publicly championing anticorruption, while privately blocking progress. It’s probably too soon to tell. Muqtada al-Sadr has never been one thing. During the American occupation, he was at once proxy, populist, patriot, politician—and, to AQI, pagan. Plotting his trajectory can feel like a fool’s errand. Muqtada may not appear himself, but he probably hasn’t truly shed his populist skin to don an establishment suit. He won’t betray his nationalist roots so lightly.
Zach Abels is assistant editor at the National Interest.

Columbia University Warns Of Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study
A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones. The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
Many faults and a few mostly modest quakes have long been known around New York City, but the research casts them in a new light. The scientists say the insight comes from sophisticated analysis of past quakes, plus 34 years of new data on tremors, most of them perceptible only by modern seismic instruments. The evidence charts unseen but potentially powerful structures whose layout and dynamics are only now coming clearer, say the scientists. All are based at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which runs the network of seismometers that monitors most of the northeastern United States.
Lead author Lynn R. Sykes said the data show that large quakes are infrequent around New York compared to more active areas like California and Japan, but that the risk is high, because of the overwhelming concentration of people and infrastructure. “The research raises the perception both of how common these events are, and, specifically, where they may occur,” he said. “It’s an extremely populated area with very large assets.” Sykes, who has studied the region for four decades, is known for his early role in establishing the global theory of plate tectonics.
The authors compiled a catalog of all 383 known earthquakes from 1677 to 2007 in a 15,000-square-mile area around New York City. Coauthor John Armbruster estimated sizes and locations of dozens of events before 1930 by combing newspaper accounts and other records. The researchers say magnitude 5 quakes—strong enough to cause damage–occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. There was little settlement around to be hurt by the first two quakes, whose locations are vague due to a lack of good accounts; but the last, thought to be centered under the seabed somewhere between Brooklyn and Sandy Hook, toppled chimneys across the city and New Jersey, and panicked bathers at Coney Island. Based on this, the researchers say such quakes should be routinely expected, on average, about every 100 years. “Today, with so many more buildings and people, a magnitude 5 centered below the city would be extremely attention-getting,” said Armbruster. “We’d see billions in damage, with some brick buildings falling. People would probably be killed.”
Starting in the early 1970s Lamont began collecting data on quakes from dozens of newly deployed seismometers; these have revealed further potential, including distinct zones where earthquakes concentrate, and where larger ones could come. The Lamont network, now led by coauthor Won-Young Kim, has located hundreds of small events, including a magnitude 3 every few years, which can be felt by people at the surface, but is unlikely to cause damage. These small quakes tend to cluster along a series of small, old faults in harder rocks across the region. Many of the faults were discovered decades ago when subways, water tunnels and other excavations intersected them, but conventional wisdom said they were inactive remnants of continental collisions and rifting hundreds of millions of years ago. The results clearly show that they are active, and quite capable of generating damaging quakes, said Sykes.
One major previously known feature, the Ramapo Seismic Zone, runs from eastern Pennsylvania to the mid-Hudson Valley, passing within a mile or two northwest of Indian Point. The researchers found that this system is not so much a single fracture as a braid of smaller ones, where quakes emanate from a set of still ill-defined faults. East and south of the Ramapo zone—and possibly more significant in terms of hazard–is a set of nearly parallel northwest-southeast faults. These include Manhattan’s 125th Street fault, which seems to have generated two small 1981 quakes, and could have been the source of the big 1737 quake; the Dyckman Street fault, which carried a magnitude 2 in 1989; the Mosholu Parkway fault; and the Dobbs Ferry fault in suburban Westchester, which generated the largest recent shock, a surprising magnitude 4.1, in 1985. Fortunately, it did no damage. Given the pattern, Sykes says the big 1884 quake may have hit on a yet-undetected member of this parallel family further south.
The researchers say that frequent small quakes occur in predictable ratios to larger ones, and so can be used to project a rough time scale for damaging events. Based on the lengths of the faults, the detected tremors, and calculations of how stresses build in the crust, the researchers say that magnitude 6 quakes, or even 7—respectively 10 and 100 times bigger than magnitude 5–are quite possible on the active faults they describe. They calculate that magnitude 6 quakes take place in the area about every 670 years, and sevens, every 3,400 years. The corresponding probabilities of occurrence in any 50-year period would be 7% and 1.5%. After less specific hints of these possibilities appeared in previous research, a 2003 analysis by The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation put the cost of quakes this size in the metro New York area at $39 billion to $197 billion. A separate 2001 analysis for northern New Jersey’s Bergen County estimates that a magnitude 7 would destroy 14,000 buildings and damage 180,000 in that area alone. The researchers point out that no one knows when the last such events occurred, and say no one can predict when they next might come.
“We need to step backward from the simple old model, where you worry about one large, obvious fault, like they do in California,” said coauthor Leonardo Seeber. “The problem here comes from many subtle faults. We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought. We need to take a very close look.” Seeber says that because the faults are mostly invisible at the surface and move infrequently, a big quake could easily hit one not yet identified. “The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great,” he said. “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.”
The researchers found concrete evidence for one significant previously unknown structure: an active seismic zone running at least 25 miles from Stamford, Conn., to the Hudson Valley town of Peekskill, N.Y., where it passes less than a mile north of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Stamford-Peekskill line stands out sharply on the researchers’ earthquake map, with small events clustered along its length, and to its immediate southwest. Just to the north, there are no quakes, indicating that it represents some kind of underground boundary. It is parallel to the other faults beginning at 125th Street, so the researchers believe it is a fault in the same family. Like the others, they say it is probably capable of producing at least a magnitude 6 quake. Furthermore, a mile or so on, it intersects the Ramapo seismic zone.
Sykes said the existence of the Stamford-Peekskill line had been suggested before, because the Hudson takes a sudden unexplained bend just ot the north of Indian Point, and definite traces of an old fault can be along the north side of the bend. The seismic evidence confirms it, he said. “Indian Point is situated at the intersection of the two most striking linear features marking the seismicity and also in the midst of a large population that is at risk in case of an accident,” says the paper. “This is clearly one of the least favorable sites in our study area from an earthquake hazard and risk perspective.”
The findings comes at a time when Entergy, the owner of Indian Point, is trying to relicense the two operating plants for an additional 20 years—a move being fought by surrounding communities and the New York State Attorney General. Last fall the attorney general, alerted to the then-unpublished Lamont data, told a Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel in a filing: “New data developed in the last 20 years disclose a substantially higher likelihood of significant earthquake activity in the vicinity of [Indian Point] that could exceed the earthquake design for the facility.” The state alleges that Entergy has not presented new data on earthquakes past 1979. However, in a little-noticed decision this July 31, the panel rejected the argument on procedural grounds. A source at the attorney general’s office said the state is considering its options.
The characteristics of New York’s geology and human footprint may increase the problem. Unlike in California, many New York quakes occur near the surface—in the upper mile or so—and they occur not in the broken-up, more malleable formations common where quakes are frequent, but rather in the extremely hard, rigid rocks underlying Manhattan and much of the lower Hudson Valley. Such rocks can build large stresses, then suddenly and efficiently transmit energy over long distances. “It’s like putting a hard rock in a vise,” said Seeber. “Nothing happens for a while. Then it goes with a bang.” Earthquake-resistant building codes were not introduced to New York City until 1995, and are not in effect at all in many other communities. Sinuous skyscrapers and bridges might get by with minimal damage, said Sykes, but many older, unreinforced three- to six-story brick buildings could crumble.
Art Lerner-Lam, associate director of Lamont for seismology, geology and tectonophysics, pointed out that the region’s major highways including the New York State Thruway, commuter and long-distance rail lines, and the main gas, oil and power transmission lines all cross the parallel active faults, making them particularly vulnerable to being cut. Lerner-Lam, who was not involved in the research, said that the identification of the seismic line near Indian Point “is a major substantiation of a feature that bears on the long-term earthquake risk of the northeastern United States.” He called for policymakers to develop more information on the region’s vulnerability, to take a closer look at land use and development, and to make investments to strengthen critical infrastructure.
“This is a landmark study in many ways,” said Lerner-Lam. “It gives us the best possible evidence that we have an earthquake hazard here that should be a factor in any planning decision. It crystallizes the argument that this hazard is not random. There is a structure to the location and timing of the earthquakes. This enables us to contemplate risk in an entirely different way. And since we are able to do that, we should be required to do that.”
New York Earthquake Briefs and Quotes:
Existing U.S. Geological Survey seismic hazard maps show New York City as facing more hazard than many other eastern U.S. areas. Three areas are somewhat more active—northernmost New York State, New Hampshire and South Carolina—but they have much lower populations and fewer structures. The wider forces at work include pressure exerted from continuing expansion of the mid-Atlantic Ridge thousands of miles to the east; slow westward migration of the North American continent; and the area’s intricate labyrinth of old faults, sutures and zones of weakness caused by past collisions and rifting.
Due to New York’s past history, population density and fragile, interdependent infrastructure, a 2001 analysis by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks it the 11th most at-risk U.S. city for earthquake damage. Among those ahead: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. Behind: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Anchorage.
New York’s first seismic station was set up at Fordham University in the 1920s. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., has operated stations since 1949, and now coordinates a network of about 40.
Dozens of small quakes have been felt in the New York area. A Jan. 17, 2001 magnitude 2.4, centered in the Upper East Side—the first ever detected in Manhattan itself–may have originated on the 125th Street fault. Some people thought it was an explosion, but no one was harmed.
The most recent felt quake, a magnitude 2.1 on July 28, 2008, was centered near Milford, N.J. Houses shook and a woman at St. Edward’s Church said she felt the building rise up under her feet—but no damage was done.
Questions about the seismic safety of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which lies amid a metropolitan area of more than 20 million people, were raised in previous scientific papers in 1978 and 1985.
Because the hard rocks under much of New York can build up a lot strain before breaking, researchers believe that modest faults as short as 1 to 10 kilometers can cause magnitude 5 or 6 quakes.
In general, magnitude 3 quakes occur about 10 times more often than magnitude fours; 100 times more than magnitude fives; and so on. This principle is called the Gutenberg-Richter relationship.