By Meteorologist Michael Gouldrick New York State PUBLISHED 6:30 AM ET Sep. 09, 2020 PUBLISHED 6:30 AM EDT Sep. 09, 2020
New York State has a long history of earthquakes. Since the early to mid 1700s there have been over 550 recorded earthquakes that have been centered within the state’s boundary. New York has also been shaken by strong earthquakes that occurred in southeast Canada and the Mid-Atlantic states.
A school gymnasium suffered major damage, some 90% of chimneys toppled over and house foundations were cracked. Windows broke and plumbing was damaged. This earthquake was felt from Maine to Michigan to Maryland.
Another strong quake occurred near Attica on August 12th, 1929. Chimneys took the biggest hit, foundations were also cracked and store shelves toppled their goods.
Strong earthquakes outside of New York’s boundary have also shaken the state. On February 5th, 1663 near Charlevoix, Quebec, an estimated magnitude of 7.5 occurred. A 6.2 tremor was reported in Western Quebec on November 1st in 1935. A 6.2 earthquake occurred in the same area on March 1st 1925. Many in the state also reported shaking on August 23rd, 2011 from a 5.9 earthquake near Mineral, Virginia.
Earthquakes in the northeast U.S. and southeast Canada are not as intense as those found in other parts of the world but can be felt over a much larger area. The reason for this is the makeup of the ground. In our part of the world, the ground is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been put together. If one piece shakes, the whole puzzle shakes.
In Rochester, New York, the most recent earthquake was reported on March 29th, 2020. It was a 2.6 magnitude shake centered under Lake Ontario. While most did not feel it, there were 54 reports of the ground shaking.
So next time you are wondering why the dishes rattled, or you thought you felt the ground move, it certainly could have been an earthquake in New York.
Here is a website from the USGS (United Sates Geologic Society) of current earthquakes greater than 2.5 during the past day around the world. As you can see, the Earth is a geologically active planet!
Another great website of earthquakes that have occurred locally can be found here.
To learn more about the science behind earthquakes, check out this website from the USGS.
A 2.1 quake is at the lower end of the scale, meaning it would likely only be felt by people living right near the epicenter.
CAMDEN, S.C. — Another small earthquake has struck in Kershaw County, the second tremor this week and the third since the beginning of the year.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the 2.1 magnitude quake took place at 10:03 a.m. Friday. It was centered about 3.7 miles southeast of Camden. This one was close to surface, only about 0.7 miles beneath the ground.
This is the third quake in Kershaw County since the start of March, and the 21st since a rash of earthquakes in that area began in December of last year. The first quake was the largest–3.3 magnitude–and then a series of smaller aftershocks took place.
It’s not known why this area has seen so many earthquakes in such a short amount of time.
Earthquakes happen throughout the state but most occur near the coast. Approximately 70 percent of earthquakes are in the coastal plain, with most happening in the Lowcountry.
NEW DELHI, March 11 (Reuters) – India’s defence ministry on Friday said a missile had been accidentally fired into neighbouring Pakistan after a “technical malfunction”, putting the spotlight once again on the nuclear arsenals of the South Asian arch rivals.
Both countries have pledged no first use of a nuclear weapon, but the accident immediately raised questions about the safety mechanisms in their systems.
Below is a look at their nuclear capabilities:
Both countries possess nuclear arsenals of comparable size.
Pakistan holds about 100–120 nuclear weapons, which can be delivered by aircraft and land-based missiles, while India’s nuclear arsenal is around 90-110 nuclear weapons, according to estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI, March 11 (Reuters) – India said on Friday it had accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan this week because of a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance, giving its version of events after Pakistan summoned India’s envoy to protest.
Military experts have in the past warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations by the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three wars and engaged in numerous smaller armed clashes, usually over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Tensions have eased in recent months, and the incident, which may have been the first of its kind, immediately raised questions about safety mechanisms.
“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” the Indian Ministry of Defence said in a three-paragraph statement.
“It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident.”
The ministry said the government had “taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry”.
Pakistan’s foreign office summoned India’s charge d’affaires in Islamabad to lodge a protest over what it called an unprovoked violation of its airspace, saying the incident could have endangered passenger flights and civilian lives.
Pakistan warned India “to be mindful of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations in future”.
Ayesha Siddiqa, an expert on military affairs and South Asian matters, tweeted that “India-Pak should be talking about risk mitigation”.
“Both states have remained confident about control of nuclear weapons but what if such accidents happen again & with more serious consequences?”
“The admission that it was a missile was very nonchalant,” he said. “What does this say about their safety mechanisms and the technical prowess of very dangerous weapons? The international community needs to have a very close look at this.”
The official said it was possibly a BrahMos missile – a nuclear-capable, land-attack cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India.
According to the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, the missile’s range is between 300 km (186 miles) and 500 km (310 miles), making it capable of hitting Islamabad from a northern Indian launch pad.
The Pakistani official wondered if the incident meant that India had “missiles in ready-to-launch positions and pointed at Pakistan, and that too without any safeguard of a command and control system”.
A Pakistani military spokesman told a news conference on Thursday evening that a “high-speed flying object” originating from the northern Indian city of Sirsa had crashed in eastern Pakistan.
“The flight path of this object endangered many national and international passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property on ground,” he said.
A Pakistan air force official said the object, flying at 40,000 feet and three times the speed of sound, had flown 124 km (77 miles) in Pakistani airspace.
“It gives me great hope that the 2 nuclear weapon states dealt with the missile incident in a mature manner,” he wrote on Twitter. “New Delhi should offer to pay compensation for the Pak house that was destroyed.”
Additional reporting by Syed Raza Hasan, Gibran Peshimam and Nigam Prusty; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Frances Kerry, William Maclean
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with China’s threatening moves toward Taiwan and its new campaign to build up its strategic nuclear forces, likely signal an end to debate about modernizing the full nuclear triad, according to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.
The Air Force, Kendall said, is likely to get the green light to move forward with the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile system, B-21 bomber, nuclear Long Range Stand Off missile, and command and control modernization.
Russia’s move on Ukraine was unthinkable to some in government just a few weeks before but has demonstrated that the unthinkable can happen and that the U.S. must do what’s necessary to deter them both, Kendall said:
Russia’s invasion shows that war between big nations “still happens” and that war with China in the Pacific is a “real … possibility.”
“A lot of people didn’t think that he would do it,” Kendall observed of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. “We’ve been watching this. I’ve seen him build up his forces multiple times on the borders of Ukraine. And as we watched this one, this time was different. It was clearly not a show of force this time. He was serious about it. And a lot of people didn’t expect that.”
Now, however, “I think, for better or for worse—certainly for worse for the Ukrainian people, ultimately, for worse for the Russians—we’ve had a wake-up call. We’ve had an emotional event that says that, ‘Yes, war at scale, among great powers, among modern powers, can actually happen.’ It can also happen in the Pacific.”
Despite the Ukraine invasion, Kendall said his priority is still “China, China, China” because that country has invested for 30 years in creating a military capable of challenging the U.S. in every domain, including space. Making America’s space assets “resilient” is the top priority of Kendall’s seven “operational imperatives.” Also, “we cannot give the other side impunity to operate in space,” and other countries’ assets there must be held at risk by the U.S., Kendall asserted.
“So, we’re in a whole new world, there.”
That said, “there is a huge unfunded requirement coming in space,” Kendall warned. “When you look at what we need to have”—and some of those space architectures are being built now—“there’s a bill there, that’s coming. “We’ll start to pay it … when you see [the fiscal year 2023] budget,” but bigger bills will come later. In answer to a question, Kendall said he’s “not terribly worried” about the Space Force being able to absorb a lot of new funding, should it be appropriated. “We’re pretty good at spending money in the Pentagon,” he dryly observed.
Kendall said he is “comfortable” with the fiscal 2023 budget.
“I think we’ll be able to balance those things that we’ve talked about … and move forward. But as I look beyond that, I do see challenges ahead. We have tough choices ahead of us in the next several years as we better define the things we need and then figure out how we’re going to pay for it.”
Although he would not discuss particulars about the unreleased fiscal 2023 budget, Kendall hinted that it doesn’t have as much in it for missile defense as he would like.
“What I became alarmed about in 2010 … and what I’ve been watching progress ever since, is the purchase of ballistic and cruise missiles” by China, “targeted at our high-value assets.” The Air Force needs “good warning and tracks, particularly for ballistic missiles. So if there were one area where I think we would need much more robust capability” and funding, “that would probably be it.”
More generally, he said, if he had “extra” money, he would spend it on more analysis to make sure the programs being selected to pursue, “and modernization in general,” are optimized to USAF’s true needs. Although in the past few years, “‘going fast’ has been emphasized … it’s really important that you go in the right direction … about where you make those investments.” His seven “imperatives” are about “making sure we get all that right.”
Kendall also said there will not be as many efforts to divest aircraft, meant to free up money for new programs, in the fiscal 2023 request as there were in the fiscal 2022 budget plan.
“We made the case last year,” he said, and Congress “came through pretty well. I’m pretty happy with what they did last year. The exception was the A-10.” But “I will tell you … I don’t think you’re going to see the same scale of requested retirements in this budget as you did last year. There will still be some. Going forward, there will be some hard choices, further out.”
Kendall said his new imperatives for tactical and strategic uncrewed aircraft are priorities because the manned aircraft force now envisioned is just too expensive. He also said the F-35’s sustainment costs are not going down to where the Air Force needs them to be.
“What we’re looking at is a force in which the F-35 is the ‘low end’ of a ‘high-low mix.’ That is not going to work,” Kendall said.
“We’re not going to get the F-35 sustainment cost down to a level where that’s realistic.” While he hopes production costs will keep going down—something the program office and Lockheed Martin have said are unlikely—even at $80 million a copy, the F-35 is “not a cheap airplane. So we’ve got to figure out a way to get the capacity and quantity that we need.” He quoted the trope that “quantity has a quality all its own,” and added, “that’s very true.”
In the omnibus defense bill, the hypersonic AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) took a major cut, giving up half its funding to longer research and development. Kendall noted that “there was a lot of enthusiasm for hypersonics in the previous administration, and I think I’ve made the comment why I think China is developing hypersonic capabilities. And we have to think more carefully about what we need” in that arena, and not just “mirror what they’re doing.” Kendall said. “We need to take a look at our whole portfolio, not just hypersonics.” But with regard to ARRW, he noted a series of test failures and said he’d spoken to Lockheed Martin recently, saying, “They think they’re working their way through that” and will get back to flight testing “shortly.”
However, “ARRW still has to prove itself,” he said.
Pakistan’s military is claiming that an unarmed “supersonic missile” launched from neighboring India violated Pakistan’s airspace and ended up in eastern Punjab province, damaging a wall in a residential area but causing no casualties
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s military on Thursday claimed that an unarmed surface-to-surface missile launched from neighboring India violated Pakistan’s airspace and ended up in eastern Punjab province, damaging a wall in a residential area but causing no casualties.
Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar protested over the “flagrant violation” and demanded an explanation from India. There was no immediate comment from New Delhi.
Speaking at a news conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Iftikar said the “supersonic missile” struck in the city of Mian Channu on Wednesday evening. He added that it could have endangered civilians and threatened commercial flights.
Iftikar said there was no sensitive military installations in the area where the missile landed. A senior air force officer, Vice Marshal Tariq Zia said the military was still examining its remnants.
Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations mainly over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety. Since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, the nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.
Ties between them were further strained in 2019 when Pakistan’s air force shot down an Indian warplane in the Pakistan-administered section of Kashmir, and captured a pilot in response to an airstrike by Indian aircraft targeting militants in the northwestern town of Balakot inside Pakistan.
India at the time said its airstrikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for a suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Pakistan later released the pilot.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin has given orders to increase the alert level of Russia’s nuclear forces and has made veiled nuclear threats. The blatant aggression against Ukraine has shocked Europe and the world. The war is a tragedy for Ukraine. It also exposes the limits of the West’s reliance on nuclear deterrence.
Deterrence refers to the idea that possessing nuclear weapons protects a nation from attack, through the threat of overwhelming retaliation. This concept is widely credited for helping prevent war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine casts a harsh light on its downsides. Most obvious is that Putin is using nuclear deterrence not to protect Russia but rather to have his way in Ukraine. Russia’s nuclear weapons deter the West from intervening with conventional military forces to defend Ukraine. Despite scattered calls in the U.S. for the creation of a “no-fly zone” over some or all of Ukraine, the Biden administration has wisely resisted. In practice this would mean shooting down Russian planes. It could lead to World War III. On the other side of the ledger, NATO’s nuclear weapons presumably deter Russia from expanding the war to NATO countries, such as Poland, Romania or the Baltic states. Thus, the nuclear balance of terror likely deters a wider European war but leaves Ukraine to struggle on with only limited support and perhaps eventually to be swallowed. On balance, NATO states do not seem very reassured by their vaunted nuclear deterrence. They continue to worry about the (remote) possibility of a Russian conventional attack beyond Ukraine.
This is not the first time Putin has rattled the nuclear saber. He also did so in 2014 during Russia’s invasion of Crimea, when Russian leaders talked openly about putting nuclear weapons on alert. In 2015, Russia threatened Danish warships with nuclear weapons if Denmark joined NATO’s missile defense system. Putin likes to wave about his nuclear weapons as a reminder to the West (and perhaps to himself) that Russia is still a great power. In the current crisis, Putin clearly wants the US and NATO to know that if the West were to intervene with military force on behalf of Ukraine, he might reach for his so-called tactical (or “nonstrategic”) nuclear weapons.
In the world of nuclear weapons, tactical means an exceedingly large amount of explosive energy and strategic means even larger. Most nuclear weapons today are variable-yield, or “dial-a-yield,” providing a set amount of explosive energy that can range from fractions of a kiloton to multiples of a megaton. (For example, the U.S.’s newest version of its B61 nuclear bomb can release 0.3, 1.5, 10 or 50 kilotons of explosive energy. In comparison, the Hiroshima bomb was about 15 kilotons.) Russia has about 4,500 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Of these, the ones of largest yield—the “strategic” weapons—are deployed on submarines, bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
But Russia also possesses some 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons kept in storage facilities throughout the country, developed to be used against troops and installations in a small area or in a limited engagement. Such weapons can be launched on the same short-range missiles Russia is currently using to bombard Ukraine, such as its Iskander ballistic missile, which has a range of about 500 kilometers. And these are not the only tactical weapons that could be deployed; the United States has about 100 nuclear “gravity bombs” (with less sophisticated guidance) stationed around Europe.
Tactical nuclear weapons exist because each side fears it would be deterred from using its big city-razing weapons by their very destructiveness. By making nuclear weapons smaller and the targeting more precise, their use becomes more thinkable. Paradoxically, while this makes deterrence threats more credible, it also makes the arms more tempting to use first, rather than simply in retaliation.
No one should imagine, however, that it makes sense to use a tactical nuclear weapon. A thermonuclear explosion of any size possesses overwhelming destructive power. Even a “small-yield” nuclear weapon (0.3 kilotons) would produce damage far beyond that of a conventional explosive. (For a graphic depiction, the interactive site NUKEMAP, created by nuclear historian Alexander Wellerstein, allows you to simulate the effects of a nuclear explosion of any size anywhere on the planet.) It would also cause all the horrors of Hiroshima, albeit on a smaller scale. A tactical nuclear weapon would produce a fireball, shock waves, and deadly radiation that would cause long-term health damage in survivors. Radioactive fallout would contaminate air, soil, water and the food supply (Ukrainians are already familiar with this kind of outcome because of the disastrous meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986).
No one knows if using a tactical nuclear weapon would trigger full-scale nuclear war. Nevertheless, the risk of escalation is very real. Those on the receiving end of a nuclear strike are not likely to ask whether it was tactical or strategic. In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on February 6, 2018, then–Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated “I do not think there is any such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. Any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game changer.” Russian leaders have made clear that they would view any nuclear attack as the start of an all-out nuclear war.
Especially worrisome is the possibility that the war could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons. By increasing the alert level of Russian nuclear forces, Putin increases the risk of nuclear use through miscalculation or accident in the fog of war. In the worst scenario, if the war is going badly, Putin could reach for a tactical nuclear weapon out of desperation. While this is still unlikely, the risk is not zero. And increasing that risk is unacceptable. Although innumerable nuclear weapons have been tested over the years, not one has been used in warfare (or terrorism) since 1945. The 77-year-old tradition of nuclear nonuse—the nuclear taboo—is the single most important accomplishment of the nuclear age. It is a primary obligation of leaders today to make sure nuclear weapons are never used again. Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov should stop threatening nuclear weapons. Other leaders should express shock and outrage, and make it clear that nuclear threats are irresponsible and unacceptable.
Nuclear deterrence comes with tremendous risks and enormous costs. The arguments in favor of deterrence, although sometimes convincing, are not always true. We must acknowledge that nuclear deterrence could fail. That’s why, despite the trillions of dollars spent on nuclear arsenals, no one sleeps soundly under a nuclear umbrella—especially during a crisis such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This war will likely upend the European security order. It also demonstrates how little real protection nuclear weapons provide. The world would be better off without these weapons.