said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”
“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”
This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.
“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”
It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history.
About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.
In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2
, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2
from an earthquake of similar magnitude.
“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”
The war in Ukraine called into question many of the fundamental pillars of the international order. The European security system that has developed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact has received a shattering blow. A war of aggression by a major power intent to destroy a neighbouring state and annex significant territories has broken with major taboos, not to mention international law.
Apart from the obvious tragedy for the people of Ukraine, another potential casualty is the nuclear nonproliferation system which has existed since 1970. Putin’s blatant breach of the Budapest Memorandum, signed in 1994 by Russia, the UK and US relating to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), has upended security guarantees in Europe.
The memorandum was an assurance of territorial integrity for Ukraine after it agreed to dismantle the large nuclear arsenal that remained on its territory after the break up of the Soviet Union. By signing the memorandum, Russia – along with the US and the UK – agreed not to threaten Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan with military force or economic coercion. This has proved to be worthless.
And there’s the danger. If we now live in a world where major powers are fully prepared to embark on a full-scale war to achieve their territorial ambitions, then the assumptions of the NPT, according to which non-nuclear states can rely on the security assurances from the major powers, may no longer be valid. Many countries may think it prudent to go nuclear to avoid Ukraine’s fate.
This doesn’t stop in Europe. Allies of the US in Asia are wondering the extent to which the principle of “extended deterrence” (the protection afforded by America’s nuclear umbrella) is still viable. China’s increasingly aggressive pursuit its foreign policy aims in recent years has been a major concern for Taiwan, where many question Washington’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” about how and to what extent the US would support the country.
Another concern is obviously North Korea’s nuclear programme and its regular testing of ballistic missiles which could carry nuclear warheads and have a range which could easily threaten Japan and South Korea. If and when Pyongyang develops the capacity to hit targets in continental US, this could well test America’s nuclear guarantee in Asia.
There is also considerable pressure in Japan to abandon the post-war “Peace Constitution” which banned the country from maintaining anything stronger than a self-defence force – and the country recently doubled its military budget. Japan has the technological capacity to develop nuclear weapons quickly – but the experience of US atomic attacks during the second world war remain a powerful restraint.
In March 2022 the late prime minister, Shinzo Abe, called for US nuclear weapons to be based on Japanese territory, presumably to deter both China and North Korea. This – predictably enough – provoked an angry reaction from Beijing, which asked Japan to “reflect on its history”.
For now, the US nuclear guarantee remains credible in the eyes of its Asian partners and the strategic situation on the Korean peninsula remains stable – despite the wrangling already described. It’s a very different situation from what is happening in Ukraine. The US already has forces on the Korean peninsula and is committed to South Korea’s defence. North Korea is much more vulnerable than the US under any nuclear war scenario. If Pyongyang ever launched a nuclear strike, it would risk rapid and complete obliteration.
An obvious way to address the extended deterrence problem would be to redeploy US nuclear forces in South Korea, similar to Abe’s suggestion for Japan. That would considerably enhance the credibility of a US security guarantee and would complicate China’s calculations, even with respect to Taiwan – despite all the noises from Beijing about reunification.
But South Korea faces the European dilemma – which is that the more credible its own capabilities become, the less the US will feel the need to commit its resources. While South Korea’s conventional capabilities are more than a match for the North Korean army and its obsolete equipment, it has no answer to the North’s weapons of mass destruction. So far South Korea seems to have struck a sensible balance – going nuclear could upend all of that as it may cause Washington to withdraw entirely.
It seems that despite the flagrant violations of the security assurances by Russia and the increasing capabilities of the North Korean nuclear arsenal, the commitment to the NPT remains firm. But this could change if the security environment in Europe and Asia continues to deteriorate and Russia and China become increasingly perceived as a serious and realistic military threats.
If the reliability of the US as a security guarantor is weakened it could result in a fatal erosion of the assumptions of the NPT. This would make the pressure for indigenous nuclear arsenals – both in Asia and the Middle East – irresistible. This is something the “Great Powers” have taken pains to prevent since 1945.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the shooting and ordered an investigation. He also phoned al-Shaer and wished him a speedy recovery, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Hamas, which in 2007 routed pro-Abbas forces in the Gaza Strip, denounced the shooting as an “assassination attempt,” calling ion its rival Fatah movement to stop inciting against Hamas.
Russia announced a giant nuclear torpedo called ‘Poseidon’ in 2010, capable of hitting coastal cities and wreaking havoc with its nuclear warhead, sparking concerns in the United States. In what could come as another nightmare for the US, China has also decided to join the club and create its mini-version of the Russian Poseidon.
A research team in Beijing recently claimed to have finished the conceptual design for a compact, inexpensive nuclear reactor that would propel a swarm of torpedoes across the Pacific Ocean in about a week, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
The assertions were made in a peer-reviewed Journal of Unmanned Undersea Systems report, a journal published by the largest navy contractor in China, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.
Once developed, these Chinese torpedoes might be able to hit American targets by crossing the Pacific in over a week without getting detected in their course.Russia’s Poseidon Torpedo (via Twitter)
Russia’s Poseidon had become focused this year when Russian President Vladimir Putin activated his strategic nuclear forces and threatened a nuclear attack. This underwater mega-weapon system was a weapon of choice if Russia chose to launch a nuclear attack.
Poseidon is an Intercontinental Nuclear-Powered Nuclear-Armed Autonomous Torpedo. Even though it is slower than an ICBM, it might be unstoppable and makes up for Russia’s most formidable strategic weapons. The Chinese, however, maintain that their mini-torpedo would be different than Russia’s.
According to the Chinese researchers, the mini version could be placed into a typical torpedo tube and launched in huge numbers from virtually any submarine or battleship, in contrast to the Poseidon, which cannot be mass-produced because it is too massive, expensive, and destructive.
Each torpedo would launch and maintain its cruising speed of over 30 knots (56 km/h or 35 mph) for 200 hours using a disposable nuclear reactor before being dropped to the seafloor. Then, it will use a battery to power a conventional weapon strike. This indicates that China does not want to use a nuclear warhead.
He elaborated that thanks to its high flexibility and low cost, the unmanned underwater vehicle coupled with the nuclear power system can be deployed as a conventional force like an attack nuclear submarine rather than as a nuclear missile.
The Poseidon’s two-megaton nuclear weapon is 100 times more potent than the Hiroshima bomb and can destroy a coastal city or a larger area. However, using such a weapon could start a nuclear war that would end the world, making the development of many such systems unlikely.
Sakshi Tiwari has studied journalism from the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication and holds a masters’ degree in Defence and National Security. An avid defense enthusiast, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
VIENNA, July 9 (Reuters) – Iran has escalated its uranium enrichment further with the use of advanced machines at its underground Fordow plant in a setup that can more easily change between enrichment levels, the U.N. atomic watchdog said in a report on Saturday seen by Reuters.
Western diplomats have long expressed concern about devices this cascade, or cluster, of centrifuges is equipped with.
The use of these so-called modified sub-headers means Iran could switch more quickly and easily to enriching to higher purity levels.
“On 7 July 2022, Iran informed the Agency that, on the same day, it had begun feeding the aforementioned cascade with UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235,” the confidential report to IAEA member states said.
UF6 refers to uranium hexafluoride gas which is fed into centrifuges to be enriched. read more
In a report on June 20 also seen by Reuters, the IAEA said that months after Iran informed it of its intention to use the cascade, Iran had begun feeding UF6 into it for passivation, a process that comes before enrichment.
The IAEA verified on July 6 that passivation had ended, Saturday’s report said.
“On 9 July 2022, the Agency verified that Iran had begun feeding UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 into the cascade of 166 IR-6 centrifuges with modified sub-headers for the declared purpose of producing UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235,” it said.
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Iran is already enriching to up to 60% elsewhere, well above the up to 20% it produced before its 2015 deal with major powers that capped its enrichment level at 3.67% but still below the roughly 90% of weapons grade.
According to Global Security Review, Russia’s military doctrine allows the battlefield use of nuclear weapons in response to any non-nuclear assault on Russian territory. The ISW said Putin may use this as a justification to defend Russia’s newly annexed areas with nuclear arms.
“We must stop, reach an agreement, end this mess, operation and war in Ukraine,” Lukashenko told Agence France-Presse.
“Let’s stop and then we will figure out how to go on living,” he said. “There’s no need to go further. Further lies the abyss of nuclear war. There’s no need to go there.”
The agency tweeted that Lukashenko believed Kyiv could end the conflict—which started on February 24, by restarting talks with Moscow and accepting its demands. He also told the agency that the West had “fomented the war and are continuing it.”
Lukashenko has had a testy relationship with Putin over the years but now he relies heavily on the Russian president to stay in power.
Belarus hosted mobilization training exercises earlier in July, which prompted Ukrainian officials to say Moscow wants to bring Belarus into the war in Ukraine to make up for dwindling numbers of Russian military personnel.
Lukashenko also said in the interview that Belarus was an authoritarian country but it had no political prisoners. This is at odds with an assessment by the rights group Vesna-96 which said there were around 1,300 political prisoners in the country, many of whom had been jailed in a crackdown following disputed elections in 2020.
This month, a Belarusian court sentenced Katsiaryna Andreyeva, 28, who works as a journalist with Polish broadcaster Belsat TV, to eight years in jail for treason for her reports on protests in 2020.
Arms control has been a feature of the U.S.-Russia nuclear balance now for the past half century, starting with the SALT agreements in 1972 and then the START agreements in 1991. For the United States, it has undertaken two cycles of nuclear modernization and is now on the third. The Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations built the first triad of Minuteman missiles, B-52 bombers, and Polarissubmarines, a force that President John F. Kennedy twice cited as the key reason the United States beat back deadly serious nuclear threats over Berlin in 1961 and Cuba in 1962.
The second nuclear triad modernization started in the 1970s, but with many delays and funding shortfalls. It only gained significant momentum during the Reagan administration, which built the Peacekeeper land-based missile, the B-1 and B-2 bombers and their associated cruise missiles, and the Ohio-class submarine with its associated C-4 and D-5 missiles. Each of the major platforms—the PK, the Ohio, and the B-2—were stopped in the 1990s, coincidental with the assumed end of both the Cold War and the Soviet empire and the implementation of the START I arms control treaty.
The third modernization of the nuclear triad will bear fruit around 2029 with the deployment of the first land-based missiles, followed within two years of both the nuclear-capable B-21 Raider stealth bomber and the Columbia-class submarine, the result of nearly twenty years of concerted development and modernization that started with a December 2010 bipartisan agreement between the U.S. Senate and Obama administration.
Not only does this modernized deterrent prevent the United States from being attacked with nuclear weapons, but it is also designed to serve as an umbrella over America’s allies and friends, most notably in NATO and in the western Pacific. The umbrella provides a nuclear backstop to stop any major military attacks, especially from nuclear-armed Russia, China, or North Korea. Our allies thus need not build their own nuclear deterrent, therefore helping to prevent the proliferation of such weapons, and lessening the dangers of nuclear conflict.
During the entire nuclear age, even after China exploded its first nuclear device in 1964, it was assumed that the nuclear powers had no interest in seeing more countries build nuclear weapons. That was the adopted narrative for decades, with the dominant view being that China was strongly against proliferation, desired an arsenal of only a few hundred warheads, committed to not using nuclear weapons first, and would always keep its weapons off of alert and stored separately from its missiles—all under an overarching “minimal nuclear deterrent” posture despite the United States and Russia building nuclear arsenals with tens of thousands of warheads and bombs.
This narrative held for many decades. Although the United States and Russia now maintain long-range nuclear arsenals at or near 2,000 warheads, over time both nations reduced their medium-range nuclear-armed missiles and strategic or long-range treaty accountable deployed nuclear weapons by nearly 90 percentunder the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces and START series of agreements without securing any Chinese buy-in.
Luckily, the only member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that went nuclear after the end of the Cold War has been North Korea, albeit with current fears that Iran might also join the club of rogue nuclear actors (the only other non-NPT members India and Pakistan both exploded weapons for the first time in 1974 and 1998, respectively). Thus, were Kennedy’s fears as stated in his 1963 AU speech overblown?
Although written more than a decade ago, Reed’s warnings about China are now highly relevant. Reed explained that China was a major proliferator of nuclear weapons technology, having created what one might term the Pakistani AQ Khan “Nukes R Us” entity that not only built the Pakistani atomic weapon but in deliberate fashion helped construct a nuclear weapons program for North Korea, Libya, Iran, and Iraq.
Iraq’s nuclear capability was earlier discovered purely by luck, as the liberation of Kuwait led the U.S. coalition to discover that Iraq was just months away from having a nuclear warhead, a nuclear capability long thought dead because of the Israeli “Operation Opera” bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 and the subterfuge Saddam used to fool inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Subsequent to the liberation of Kuwait, top UN officials Ambassadors Rolf Ekeus and Richard Butler, responsible for a decade-long inspection of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction mischief, both were surprised by what Saddam had achieved and would repeatedly warn that if Saddam remained in power, he would eventuallybuild another nuclear weapons capability.
Despite U.S. efforts through the Agreed Framework deal of 1994 and the Six-Party Talks started by the George W. Bush administration, no deal to denuclearize North Korea was struck. Commentary often excused North Korea’s behavior, as well as Iraqi and Libyan efforts to build nuclear weapons by asserting these countries had to defend themselves from U.S. aggression, as Iraq (1991 and 2003), Libya (2012), and North Korea (2017) were all attacked or threatened with attack by the United States.
The narrative, especially from the arms control community, further assumed that Libya and Iraq were attacked due to their lack of nuclear arms, while North Korea’s nuclear force prevented any U.S. aggression against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), especially during the Trump administration.
But the recent revelation by former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo that China actively opposed North Korean denuclearization is consistent with Tom Reed’s history of China’s pro-proliferation activity. It is also consistent with China’s push to militarize not only the South China Sea but also its drive to eliminate as much U.S. military capability in the region as possible.
Chinese efforts to assist North Korean nuclear proliferation were designed to force a split between the United States and South Korea. Indeed, a number of analysts have argued that given the increased chances of a nuclear-armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula—which would imperil the U.S. homeland—the United States should withdraw all its forces from the peninsula and avoid having to trade Los Angeles for Seoul, for example, at the outbreak of war.
The Chinese strategy has thankfully not worked—yet—as the South Korean population by upwards of 70 percent supports a stronger U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance despite domestic U.S. pressure to disengage and some ROK entities pushing for greater cooperation with the DPRK, especially under the previous South Korean president. China’s strategy may also further backfire, as a large majority of the South Korean population now supports the ROK securing its own nuclear deterrent while sentiment in Japan has moved considerably in the pro-nuclear direction—especially should it involve the stationing of U.S. and not Japanese nuclear deterrent forces in Japan.
When combined with evidence that China is building some 360 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) silos in western China at a rate that at least matches and may exceed the 130-160 silos per year rate at which the United States deployed the Minuteman I and Minuteman II ICBMs between 1962-66, it is clear that China believes that nuclear weapons are convenient tools of statecraft, to be used for coercion and blackmail, and that the days of China’s “minimal deterrence” and “peaceful rise” are long past.
Baghdad-INA The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, directed on Thursday, the follow-up committees for Friday prayers throughout Iraq with questions about the electricity crisis.
It came in a document addressed to the follow-up committees for Friday prayers, which was received by the Iraqi News Agency Muqtada al-Sadr instructed on Thursday the mosque preachers in Najaf to lead small groups of people (5-10) and visit the electricity departments in their neighborhoods to inquire about the power supply there.