Earthquake activity in the New York City area

WikipediaAlthough the eastern United States is not as seismically active as regions near plate boundaries, large and damaging earthquakes do occur there. Furthermore, when these rare eastern U.S. earthquakes occur, the areas affected by them are much larger than for western U.S. earthquakes of the same magnitude. Thus, earthquakes represent at least a moderate hazard to East Coast cities, including New York City and adjacent areas of very high population density.Seismicity in the vicinity of New York City. Data are from the U.S. Geological Survey (Top, USGS) and the National Earthquake Information Center (Bottom, NEIC). In the top figure, closed red circles indicate 1924-2006 epicenters and open black circles indicate locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884. Green lines indicate the trace of the Ramapo fault.As can be seen in the maps of earthquake activity in this region(shown in the figure), seismicity is scattered throughout most of the New York City area, with some hint of a concentration of earthquakes in the area surrounding Manhattan Island.The largest known earthquake in this region occurred in 1884 and had a magnitude of approximately 5.For this earthquake, observations of fallen bricks and cracked plaster were reported from eastern Pennsylvania to central Connecticut, and the maximum intensity reported was at two sites in western Long Island (Jamaica, New York and Amityville, New York). Two other earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5 occurred in this region in 1737 and 1783. The figure on the right shows maps of the distribution of earthquakes of magnitude 3 and greater that occurred in this region from 1924 to 2010, along with locations of the larger earthquakes that occurred in 1737, 1783 and 1884.


The NYC area is part of the geologically complex structure of the Northern Appalachian Mountains. This complex structure was formed during the past half billion years when the Earth’s crust underlying the Northern Appalachians was the site of two major geological episodes, each of which has left its imprint on the NYC area bedrock. Between about 450 million years ago and about 250 million years ago, the Northern Appalachian region was affected by a continental collision, in which the ancient African continent collided with the ancient North American continent to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Beginning about 200 million years ago, the present-day Atlantic ocean began to form as plate tectonic forces began to rift apart the continent of Pangaea. The last major episode of geological activity to affect the bedrock in the New York area occurred about 100 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, when continental rifting that led to the opening of the present-day Atlantic ocean formed the Hartford and Newark Mesozoic rift basins.Earthquake rates in the northeastern United States are about 50 to 200 times lower than in California, but the earthquakes that do occur in the northeastern U.S. are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of the same magnitude in the western U.S.This means the area of damage from an earthquake in the northeastern U.S. could be larger than the area of damage caused by an earthquake of the same magnitude in the western U.S. The cooler rocks in the northeastern U.S. contribute to the seismic energy propagating as much as ten times further than in the warmer rocks of California. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt as far as 100 km (60 mi) from its epicenter, but it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake, although uncommon, can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from its epicenter, and can cause damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi) from its epicenter. Earthquakes stronger than about magnitude 5.0 generate ground motions that are strong enough to be damaging in the epicentral area.At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, scientists can often make observations that allow them to identify the specific fault on which an earthquake took place. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case.  The NYC area is far from the boundaries of the North American plate, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and along the west coast of North America. The seismicity of the northeastern U.S. is generally considered to be due to ancient zones of weakness that are being reactivated in the present-day stress field. In this model, pre-existing faults that were formed during ancient geological episodes persist in the intraplate crust, and the earthquakes occur when the present-day stress is released along these zones of weakness. The stress that causes the earthquakes is generally considered to be derived from present-day rifting at the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Earthquakes and geologically mapped faults in the Northeastern U.S.

The northeastern U.S. has many known faults, but virtually all of the known faults have not been active for perhaps 90 million years or more. Also, the locations of the known faults are not well determined at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few (if any) earthquakes in the region can be unambiguously linked to known faults. Given the current geological and seismological data, it is difficult to determine if a known fault in this region is still active today and could produce a modern earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rocky Mountains, the best guide to earthquake hazard in the northeastern U.S. is probably the locations of the past earthquakes themselves.

The Ramapo fault and other New York City area faults

The Ramapo Fault, which marks the western boundary of the Newark rift basin, has been argued to be a major seismically active feature of this region,but it is difficult to discern the extent to which the Ramapo fault (or any other specific mapped fault in the area) might be any more of a source of future earthquakes than any other parts of the region. The Ramapo Fault zone spans more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in New YorkNew Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is a system of faults between the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region, and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity. Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased – especially after the 1970s, when the fault’s proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York was noticed.There is insufficient evidence to unequivocally demonstrate any strong correlation of earthquakes in the New York City area with specific faults or other geologic structures in this region. The damaging earthquake affecting New York City in 1884 was probably not associated with the Ramapo fault because the strongest shaking from that earthquake occurred on Long Island (quite far from the trace of the Ramapo fault). The relationship between faults and earthquakes in the New York City area is currently understood to be more complex than any simple association of a specific earthquake with a specific mapped fault.A 2008 study argued that a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake might originate from the Ramapo fault zone,which would almost definitely spawn hundreds or even thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars in damage. Studying around 400 earthquakes over the past 300 years, the study also argued that there was an additional fault zone extending from the Ramapo Fault zone into southwestern Connecticut. As can be seen in the above figure of seismicity, earthquakes are scattered throughout this region, with no particular concentration of activity along the Ramapo fault, or along the hypothesized fault zone extending into southwestern Connecticut.Just off the northern terminus of the Ramapo fault is the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, built between 1956 and 1960 by Consolidated Edison Company. The plant began operating in 1963, and it has been the subject of a controversy over concerns that an earthquake from the Ramapo fault will affect the power plant. Whether or not the Ramapo fault actually does pose a threat to this nuclear power plant remains an open question.

Iran Closes in to its First Nuke

Edging close to a bomb’s worth of fuel is seen as a tactic to pressure the Biden administration into agreeing to a quick renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal.

By David E. Sanger and William J. BroadSept. 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — Iran has come within roughly a month of having enough material to fuel a single nuclear weapon, crossing a threshold that may raise pressure on the United States and its allies to improve the terms of a potential deal to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Experts studying new data contained in reports last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ atomic inspection group, say that by enriching nuclear fuel in recent months to near bomb-grade levels, Tehran has gained the capability to produce the fuel needed for a single nuclear warhead within a month or so, under the most extreme timeline. Federal officials who have seen classified estimates are prevented from discussing official assessments but conceded in background conversations that they believed it would take Iran only a few months.

Manufacturing an actual warhead — one that could fit atop an Iranian missile and survive the fiery re-entry into the atmosphere, a technology the Iranians were actively studying 20 years ago — would take considerably longer. Iran continues to insist it has no desire for a nuclear arsenal.

Nonetheless, Iran has not been this close to a weapon capability since before President Obama agreed to the 2015 nuclear accord. That agreement forced the Iranians to ship more than 97 percent of their fuel out of the country, and the United States said it would take at least a year for Iran to succeed at “breakout,” the term nuclear experts use to define a race to build a bomb’s worth of atomic fuel.


Russia Worries About the Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

SAwxXRussia worried AUKUS pact will allow Australia to enter elite nuclear submarine club

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Friday it was concerned that the AUKUS defence agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States would allow Australia to enter the select group of nations that operate nuclear-powered submarines.

The three-way pact, under which Australia will obtain nuclear submarine technology from the United States, has angered France and concerned China since it was announced by Washington, London and Canberra last month.

Moscow said earlier this week it was seeking more information about the pact and on Friday Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he saw it as a challenge to global nuclear non-proliferation.

“We are also concerned about the … partnership that will allow Australia, after 18 months of consultations and several years of attempts, to obtain nuclear-powered submarines in sufficient numbers to become one of the top five countries for this type of armaments,” Ryabkov said, the TASS news agency reported.

“This is a great challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime,” he was quoted as saying.

Ryabkov was speaking in Geneva.

The United States, Russia, Britain, France and China all operate nuclear-propelled submarines.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)

Biden won’t be able to rescue the Nuclear Posture Review

Ready, aim, fired: Can Biden rescue the Nuclear Posture Review?

By Stephen I. Schwartz | September 30, 2021

Ever since the Clinton administration in 1993, new US presidents have conducted a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to assess whether the stockpile size, composition, and operational deployment of US nuclear weapons align with their military policy, foreign policy, and budgetary objectives. The results are used to guide nuclear policies and programs for the remainder of a president’s term.

Although all prior NPRs (there have been four) have generally—and disappointingly—rubber-stamped the nuclear status quo, this one had the potential to be different thanks to President Biden’s deep knowledge of—and longstanding involvement in—nuclear policy matters as a US senator and vice president. Just as important to the possibility of a real review of the US nuclear posture was Leonor Tomero, the highly experienced woman (she served as a senior aide on the House Armed Services Committee for nearly 11 years) Biden nominated to work on those issues and lead the review for the Defense Department as deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy.

The Biden administration’s much-anticipated NPR finally and formally got underway in mid-July. But suddenly, last Thursday, Politico reported that Tomero had been effectively fired when the Defense Department abruptly reorganized her position out of existence and transferred her responsibilities to two other offices—one of which is so new it does not even have a confirmed nominee to lead it. Tomero was further informed she could not take another job in the department, even though multiple open positions at the equivalent seniority level remain unfilled. Although Defense Department spokesman John Kirby offered some unconvincing explanations about the “reorganization” being routine, it wasn’t difficult to discern what had actually happened when an unidentified current Defense official told Politico that Tomero was one of the “arms controllers who used to seem naïve but now seem irrational given what China and Russia are doing.”

Tomero had run afoul of the permanent nuclear bureaucracy (or theocracy, given this cadre’s better-known appellation: the nuclear priesthood), the largely male, largely white, largely conservative group of civilian and military officials who for more than 76 years have designed, built, tested, operated, maintained, and upgraded US nuclear weapons and prepared, programmed, and practiced numerous highly-detailed war plans across a variety of threat scenarios.

As deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, Leonor Tomero testified at a May 12 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the defense authorization request for 2022.It’s telling that being willing to ask serious questions on behalf of the president of the United States about the purpose and costs of US nuclear weapons (of which up to 900 thermonuclear warheads remain on 24/7 alert to enable the president to order their launch at a moment’s notice) and not just accept the dogma of deterrence was sufficient to rile up members of Tomero’s own professional staff, who complained to Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), who in turn reportedly put pressure on Tomero’s bosses to get rid of her. (That attitude was already on display during a May 12 hearing of the SASC strategic forces subcommittee when Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, grilled Tomero about whether the United States should adopt a nuclear no-first-use policy or sole-use policy. When Tomero explained her job was to coordinate the review process, consider the risks and benefits of current declaratory policy, assess alternative options, and not impose any personal views she might have, Cotton ended his questioning by complaining he was “now troubled by the direction” of the NPR.) What kind of a “robust” nuclear posture can supposedly deter World War III but not withstand some hard questions about whether all 3,800 nuclear bombs and warheads in the US stockpile (as well as the 400 ICBMs, 280 SLBMs, 66 strategic bombers, and 14 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines that carry them) are vital to that mission, to say nothing of affordable?The writing was on the wall back in early January when Adm. Charles Richard, commander of US Strategic Command, toldthe Defense Writers Group that the objective of the NPR should be “validation, that we like the strategy that we have. … [T]his nation has had basically the same strategy dating back to the Kennedy administration. It’s been repeatedly validated through multiple administrations. It would be useful to do that again. And then to be satisfied that the capabilities that we have are able to accomplish that.” For Richard, the most senior military officer with operational responsibility over the nuclear arsenal, undertaking any kind of serious, thorough evaluation of nuclear requirements, let alone exploring any potentially beneficial alternatives to a strategy that, in his words, hasn’t changed for 60 years, was wholly unnecessary. But that’s exactly what President Biden wanted when he nominated Leonor Tomero to head up his NPR and to oversee nuclear weapons and missile defense issues more broadly. The question now is whether he will accept an NPR that is likely to do far, far less or find a way to ensure he receives actual policy options to pursue, rather than a nuclear fait accompli that changes little or nothing.RELATED: Four takeaways from the 2021 World Nuclear Industry Status ReportSome of Biden’s former colleagues in Congress expressed alarm this week at Tomero’s removal. Among them was Sen. Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and co-chair of a congressional working group on nuclear weapons and arms control that earlier this summer called on Biden to “actively guide” the NPR process. On Friday, Markey sent the president another letter with a dozen detailed questions about the Pentagon’s abrupt personnel shake-up and its effect on the NPR, telling Biden that he is “concerned that the sudden departure of a top appointee, charged with presenting you options on the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise, will result in a draft Nuclear Posture Review that reflects the Cold War era’s overreliance on nuclear weapons, rather than your lifetime of work championing policies that reduce nuclear weapons risks.”Back to basics. What would an honest and productive NPR look like? Rather than starting with the unquestioned assumption that all the weapons we have and everything we’re already doing to upgrade them is essential and effective, it would go back to first principles to identify the fundamental national security and foreign policy objectives of the United States beforeproposing a strategy for how nuclear weapons can help to achieve some of them. Next, the review would identify specific military targets to support that strategy, assess the best weapons for those targets, and determine the precise force posture and deployment numbers to hold those targets at risk. Finally, it would quantify the amount of money required to accomplish all of this—including designing, building, testing, and maintaining the warheads and all the supporting infrastructure—both today and well into the future. It would also be managed not just by the Defense Department but jointly with the State Department (to fully assess diplomatic and arms reduction concerns) and the Energy Department (to better include the perspectives of those charged with actually maintaining the nuclear warheads and the facilities that sustain them). And it would allow academics and non-governmental experts (including retired governmental and military officials) opportunities to contribute their knowledge and experience to the process before any drafts are written.Failing to do that will continue to perpetuate the so-called nuclear triad based on the longstanding but unsubstantiated (and unprovable) belief it is absolutely necessary to our deterrent posture. In fact, the received wisdom of maintaining three distinct strategic delivery systems (four really, given that bombers can drop gravity bombs and launch cruise missiles—but who’s counting?) to enhance our own security and fully thwart state-level adversary threats is a myth. The triad as a concept did not even exist until the 1970s, and from the beginning, it was a post-hoc justification for the results of a massively uncoordinated Cold War arms race—not the one you know about, between the United States and the Soviet Union, but the one between the Air Force, Navy, and Army from the late 1940s well into the 1970s. That arms race was spurred (and maintained) by interservice rivalry, fear, bad intelligence estimates, arbitrary decision-making, fierce competition among defense contractors, and ample pork-barrel politics. In short, the triad is a wholly accidental artifact of decades of decisions that were never fully thought through, not least in terms of how our adversaries would likely react to the tens of thousands of nuclear weapons we mindlessly amassed throughout the Cold War in a futile and increasingly costly effort to guarantee our and our allies’ perpetual security.RELATED: Satellites and climate change threaten the night. This October meteor shower celebrates it.A bottom-up approach to the NPR would be far more helpful to the White House and Congress than section 1537 of the yet-to-be-approved Senate version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which would require Defense, in “consultation with” State, Energy, and the Director of National Intelligence, “to conduct a comprehensive review of the nuclear posture of the United States for the next 5 to 10 years,” with specific emphasis on “current and projected nuclear capabilities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, and such other potential threats,” and to submit this so-called “revised” NPR in 2022. Evidently, some senators on the Armed Services Committee were concerned an NPR overseen by Tomero would be insufficiently focused on such matters, or would not fully endorse a suite of new, more advanced US nuclear weapons as a direct response to the nuclear weapons Russia and China appear to be developing.President George H. W. Bush delivers a national address announcing nuclear weapons reductions, September 27, 1991. (C-SPAN)To boldly go. It wasn’t always this way. Presidents, and their military advisors, have boldly embraced changes to the nuclear status quo in the past. For example, September 27 marked the 30th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush’s unprecedented decision to order the unilateral elimination of all land-based US nuclear weapons in Europe and South Korea and all US non-strategic naval nuclear weapons, the end of ground alert for all US bombers, and the immediate de-alerting of 450 Minuteman II ICBMs (at the time almost half of our entire ICBM force). Bush acted swiftly following an alarming but failed coup in the Soviet Union and out of a desire to lead the way toward a safer and more secure world by transcending the laborious arms control process. And it worked. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocated eight days later with his own series of unilateral measures, which new Russian President Boris Yeltsin reaffirmed and expanded upon the following January. Thanks to what became known as the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives and the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, by the time Bush left office in January 1993, he had slashed the bloated US nuclear stockpile by nearly 9,500 nuclear warheads (a massive 41 percent reduction).Today, we’re moving in the opposite direction, spending more than $1.2 trillion over the next several decades to maintain, upgrade, and replace not just every delivery system we currently have but also every operational nuclear bomb and warhead. During US Strategic Command’s recent “Deterrence Symposium,” Sen. Deb Fischer (Republican of Nebraska), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee, simplistically quoted former Secretary of Defense James Mattis when asked how to balance the considerable cost of nuclear “modernization” against all the other urgent military and civilian needs currently facing the United States: “America can afford survival.” Senator Fischer may believe that every nuclear weapon we built, currently have, or plan to build is essential to our national survival, but there is abundant historical evidence proving just the opposite, and we ignore it at our peril.President Biden still has the potential to make meaningful, lasting changes to US nuclear policies and weapons programs that can strengthen US and global security and avoid wasteful spending. But to do that, he must do the one thing none of his predecessors were willing to do: play an active, ongoing role in his administration’s own NPR to ensure it presents him with fresh options for the future and not just the same outdated, counterproductive, and hugely expensive justifications from the past.

Concerns over low Iraqi turnout prompt Antichrist to urge voting

Concerns over low Iraqi turnout prompt top Shia cleric to urge voting

BAGHDAD–Iraq’s top Shia Muslim cleric on Wednesday urged Iraqis to vote in order to “carry out real change” in next month’s parliamentary elections.

The statement from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s office came against the backdrop of potentially high rates of abstention in the October 10 ballot, which follows a popular uprising.

Initially expected in 2022, the vote was brought forward in a rare official concession to autumn 2019 protests, when tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to demonstrate against crumbling public services and a government they decried as corrupt and inept.

Hundreds died in months of protest-related violence.

But the ballot has generated little enthusiasm among Iraq’s 25 million voters, while the activists and parties behind the uprising have largely decided to boycott the ballot.

“The supreme religious leader encourages everyone to participate consciously and responsibly in the next elections,” the statement from Sistani’s office said.

Even if the process has shortcomings, “it is the best way to move the country toward a future that one hopes will be better.”

One of Shia Islam’s top clerics, Sistani spent years under house arrest during Saddam Hussein’s repressive regime. After Saddam’s fall in 2003, Sistani threw his support behind elections, was a voice for moderation and criticised government graft.

In his statement on Wednesday, he asked voters to “benefit from this opportunity to carry out real change in the administration of the state and dismiss the corrupt and incompetent hands from its main cogs”.

The statement emphasised that Sistani does not support any candidate and appealed to voters to choose those “who support the sovereignty of Iraq, its security and prosperity.”

Political scientist Marsin Alshamary said that in Iraq’s last elections, held in 2018, Sistani had said people could choose to vote or not.

“It was up to them. And people interpreted that as you can boycott,” Alshamary said.

The 2018 elections saw the entry into parliament for the first time of candidates from the Hashed al-Shaabi, a network of mostly pro-Iran paramilitary groups who helped defeat the Sunni-extremist Islamic State group.

The Hashed held the second-largest bloc in Iraq’s outgoing parliament and hopes for bigger gains this election.

Analysts are doubtful, however, favouring the movement of firebrand Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose Saeroon bloc held 54 seats, the largest in parliament.

IDF shooting of Gaza suspect crosses ‘all red lines’ outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Palestinian terror factions: IDF shooting of Gaza suspect crosses ‘all red lines’

The Israeli military identified three suspects approaching the border, and that one of them began digging while holding a suspicious item.

(September 30, 2021 / JNS)

The joint control room in Gaza that represents several terrorist factions said the shooting of a Palestinian suspect by the Israel Defense Forces on Thursday represented a “crossing of all red lines, which will require harsh replies of a special kind.”

According to Israel’s Kan news, the statement warned that “a continuation of these crimes will act as explosives for blowing up the situation, and the occupation will bear the consequences.”

Later during the day, Palestinian Islamic Jihad—the second-largest terror faction operating in the Gaza Strip after Hamas—said the statement from the joint control room did not represent it and stressed “the right of our people to resist aggression.” PIJ’s distancing itself from the joint statement appears to be linked to the statement’s threat of future, rather than immediate, action against Israel.

Earlier, a 41-year-old Arab resident of Gaza was shot and killed. Palestinian sources in Gaza claimed that the man was a bird hunter.

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The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that military-observation center controllers identified three suspects approaching the border fence, and that one was seen digging into the ground while carrying a suspicious bag.

The IDF then opened fire. The military said it was investigating the incident.

Following the shooting, the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza called for “setting the ground ablaze with anger under the feet of the Zionist occupiers as a response to their ongoing crimes against our people,” adding that “Israel will pay a heavy price.”

Israel outspends Hamas by huge margin outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel outspends Hamas by huge margin on Gaza operations

Hamas’ short ranged Qassam rockets, which are fired out of Gaza, cost around $550

A new report finds Israel outspends Hamas on military initiatives in Gaza by a massive amount after looking at data from the most recent conflict.

The operation is known as Guardian of the Walls by Israel’s military, and as Sword of Jerusalem by Hamas.

Israel’s operations in Gaza cost the state approximately $37 million every single day – a huge disparity from Hamas, who spent pennies comparatively on the conflict.

Hamas’ short ranged Qassam rockets, which are fired out of Gaza, cost around $550. 

The faction’s longer range rockets come with a price tag of around $2,000. 

However, an interception to stop these rockets from hitting Israel, through the country’s Iron Dome system, would cost approximately $100,000.

Last week, crucial funding for Israel’s Iron Dome was approved by the United States House of Representatives, with 420 votes cast in favor of the initiative, and nine votes against.

While Hamas spends around $800,000 per mile for their tunnel network, it costs the Israeli military $145,000 for every GBU 28 Bunker Buster bomb employed against the faction’s underground passageways.

During the recent operation, the Israeli military employed a massive aerial bombardment against such tunnels in a strike against a subterranean network known as the Hamas Metro.