Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake: Revelation 6

Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

Roger BilhamQuakeland: New York and the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Given recent seismic activity — political as well as geological — it’s perhaps unsurprising that two books on earthquakes have arrived this season. One is as elegant as the score of a Beethoven symphony; the other resembles a diary of conversations overheard during a rock concert. Both are interesting, and both relate recent history to a shaky future.

Journalist Kathryn Miles’s Quakeland is a litany of bad things that happen when you provoke Earth to release its invisible but ubiquitous store of seismic-strain energy, either by removing fluids (oil, water, gas) or by adding them in copious quantities (when extracting shale gas in hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, or when injecting contaminated water or building reservoirs). To complete the picture, she describes at length the bad things that happen during unprovoked natural earthquakes. As its subtitle hints, the book takes the form of a road trip to visit seismic disasters both past and potential, and seismologists and earthquake engineers who have first-hand knowledge of them. Their colourful personalities, opinions and prejudices tell a story of scientific discovery and engineering remedy.

Miles poses some important societal questions. Aside from human intervention potentially triggering a really damaging earthquake, what is it actually like to live in neighbourhoods jolted daily by magnitude 1–3 earthquakes, or the occasional magnitude 5? Are these bumps in the night acceptable? And how can industries that perturb the highly stressed rocks beneath our feet deny obvious cause and effect? In 2015, the Oklahoma Geological Survey conceded that a quadrupling of the rate of magnitude-3 or more earthquakes in recent years, coinciding with a rise in fracking, was unlikely to represent a natural process. Miles does not take sides, but it’s difficult for the reader not to.

She visits New York City, marvelling at subway tunnels and unreinforced masonry almost certainly scheduled for destruction by the next moderate earthquake in the vicinity. She considers the perils of nuclear-waste storage in Nevada and Texas, and ponders the risks to Idaho miners of rock bursts — spontaneous fracture of the working face when the restraints of many million years of confinement are mined away. She contemplates the ups and downs of the Yellowstone Caldera — North America’s very own mid-continent supervolcano — and its magnificently uncertain future. Miles also touches on geothermal power plants in southern California’s Salton Sea and elsewhere; the vast US network of crumbling bridges, dams and oil-storage farms; and the magnitude 7–9 earthquakes that could hit California and the Cascadia coastline of Oregon and Washington state this century. Amid all this doom, a new elementary school on the coast near Westport, Washington, vulnerable to inbound tsunamis, is offered as a note of optimism. With foresight and much persuasion from its head teacher, it was engineered to become an elevated safe haven.

Miles briefly discusses earthquake prediction and the perils of getting it wrong (embarrassment in New Madrid, Missouri, where a quake was predicted but never materialized; prison in L’Aquila, Italy, where scientists failed to foresee a devastating seismic event) and the successes of early-warning systems, with which electronic alerts can be issued ahead of damaging seismic waves. Yes, it’s a lot to digest, but most of the book obeys the laws of physics, and it is a engaging read. One just can’t help wishing that Miles’s road trips had taken her somewhere that wasn’t a disaster waiting to happen.

Catastrophic damage in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1964, caused by the second-largest earthquake in the global instrumental record.

In The Great Quake, journalist Henry Fountain provides us with a forthright and timely reminder of the startling historical consequences of North America’s largest known earthquake, which more than half a century ago devastated southern Alaska. With its epicentre in Prince William Sound, the 1964 quake reached magnitude 9.2, the second largest in the global instrumental record. It released more energy than either the 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake or the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off Japan; and it generated almost as many pages of scientific commentary and description as aftershocks. Yet it has been forgotten by many.

The quake was scientifically important because it occurred at a time when plate tectonics was in transition from hypothesis to theory. Fountain expertly traces the theory’s historical development, and how the Alaska earthquake was pivotal in nailing down one of the most important predictions. The earthquake caused a fjordland region larger than England to subside, and a similarly huge region of islands offshore to rise by many metres; but its scientific implications were not obvious at the time. Eminent seismologists thought that a vertical fault had slipped, drowning forests and coastlines to its north and raising beaches and islands to its south. But this kind of fault should have reached the surface, and extended deep into Earth’s mantle. There was no geological evidence of a monster surface fault separating these two regions, nor any evidence for excessively deep aftershocks. The landslides and liquefied soils that collapsed houses, and the tsunami that severely damaged ports and infrastructure, offered no clues to the cause.

“Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about present-day vulnerability.” The hero of The Great Quake is the geologist George Plafker, who painstakingly mapped the height reached by barnacles lifted out of the intertidal zone along shorelines raised by the earthquake, and documented the depths of drowned forests. He deduced that the region of subsidence was the surface manifestation of previously compressed rocks springing apart, driving parts of Alaska up and southwards over the Pacific Plate. His finding confirmed a prediction of plate tectonics, that the leading edge of the Pacific Plate plunged beneath the southern edge of Alaska along a gently dipping thrust fault. That observation, once fully appreciated, was applauded by the geophysics community.

Fountain tells this story through the testimony of survivors, engineers and scientists, interweaving it with the fascinating history of Alaska, from early discovery by Europeans to purchase from Russia by the United States in 1867, and its recent development. Were the quake to occur now, it is not difficult to envisage that with increased infrastructure and larger populations, the death toll and price tag would be two orders of magnitude larger than the 139 fatalities and US$300-million economic cost recorded in 1964.

What is clear from these two books is that seismicity on the North American continent is guaranteed to deliver surprises, along with unprecedented economic and human losses. Previous earthquakes provide clear guidance about the present-day vulnerability of US infrastructure and populations. Engineers and seismologists know how to mitigate the effects of future earthquakes (and, in mid-continent, would advise against the reckless injection of waste fluids known to trigger earthquakes). It is merely a matter of persuading city planners and politicians that if they are tempted to ignore the certainty of the continent’s seismic past, they should err on the side of caution when considering its seismic future.

Why Putin’s Nuclear Gambit Is a Huge Mistake

The only thing more terrifying than Russian nuclear use is letting fear drive Western strategy.

By Raphael S. Cohen, the director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program at the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force, and Gian Gentile, the deputy director of the Rand Corporation’s Army Research Division.

OCTOBER 19, 2022, 11:25 AM

From the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, a segment of Western elite and public opinion—including politicians, experts, and commentators—has proffered any number of explanations about why the West cannot or should not support a Ukrainian victory. When the Russian invasion began in February, there was the argument that Russian military dominance would render Western support to Ukraine futile. Then, as the war dragged on, a claim emerged that although Moscow’s initial plan for a lightning invasion was foiled, its forces would slowly but surely grind their way to inevitable victory. Now, as the Ukrainian military drives Russian forces into retreat, proponents of cutting a deal with Russia have settled on a new narrative: that the United States and its partners need to pull back on support for Ukraine, lest they actually corner Russian President Vladimir Putin and he, in turn, decides to blow up the world.

Behind this growing concern is the Russian military doctrine of “escalate to de-escalate”—that if Russia is facing the prospect of defeat due to Western conventional superiority, it would consider using nuclear weapons to force the West to back down. Today, Russia is losing in Ukraine. And while Moscow has threatened to go nuclear since the beginning of the conflict, the rhetoric of Russian leaders has recently become ever more apocalyptic. Unsurprisingly, the United States, Europe, and Ukraine are increasingly concerned that Russia will carry through on its nuclear threats.

Fear, however, should not drive the Western response to Russia’s nuclear bluster. If Putin is still a rational actor, there are plenty of reasons why he would want to avoid nuclear use. And if he is not, then the West backing off may not make any difference.

For starters, Russian nuclear use makes little operational sense. So-called tactical nuclear weapons are blunt weapons with unpredictable effects. On the battlefield, the Ukrainian military has delegated operational decision-making to lower echelons and dispersed its forces, minimizing the size and importance of a target that could be wiped out by a nuclear blast. Depending on where the strike occurs, the fallout from the blast could kill plenty of Russians as well. And given the increasingly shambolic state of the Russian military, it is unclear whether the Russian military could fully exploit whatever tactical advantage Russia might gain from nuclear use. Indeed, press accounts paint Russian forces as lacking the discipline and the kit necessary to wage a successful conventional fight, let alone a nuclear one.

Nor is it clear that nuclear use against a civilian target—Kyiv or another city, for example—would break the Ukrainian will to fight. Terror bombing with the aim of lowering a population’s morale rarely works. In World War II, the German, British, and U.S. air forces all tried and failed to break civilian morale from the air; U.S. forces tried again in North Vietnam. If anything, these campaigns produced the opposite of their intended effect, as populations rallied around the flag and became even more determined to fight on.

But what if Russia, and Putin in particular, is not entirely rational—a nontrivial possibility?

Even the analysis around the lone previous example of nuclear use in war, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is often misunderstood. True, Japan surrendered after these attacks. This fact, however, overlooks two key points. First, Japan was already losing the war, so atomic use just sped up, rather than reversed, the battlefield outcomes. Second, even after the nuclear strikes, the Japanese leadership still debated about whether it should fight on.

Russia, were it to use its nukes, would immediately incur a significant strategic backlash. The United States and its allies have already promised “catastrophic consequences” if Russia uses nuclear weapons. While the Biden administration has not specified in public what these consequences may be, the United States and its allies have plenty of tools at their disposal, from economic measures—such as seizing, rather

than simply freezing, Russian assets—secondary sanctions, and even conventional strikes on Russian forces in Ukraine. Finally, a certainly catastrophic, though admittedly unlikely, consequence to a Russian nuclear strike would be the United States striking back with a nuclear response of its own.

The political backlash Russia would face if it deployed its nuclear arms against Ukraine is also significant. Russia’s international support, even among its friends, is already shaky. Just last month, India’s Narendra Modi publicly scolded Russia; China has already expressed its concern; and Russia’s other supporters—including Serbia and North Korea—have tried to distance themselves from Moscow’s recent actions. All this is already happening now—before Russia were to cross the still theoretical nuclear threshold.

Finally, there would be long-term consequences to Russia’s nuclear actions. If Moscow carried through on its threat, it would forever change the international security environment. Say Russia’s gamble succeeds, the Western coalition backing Ukraine is as weak and divided a coalition as Putin thinks it is, and the West eventually forces Ukraine to back down. This would then likely set off a wave of nuclear proliferation—particularly in states close to the Russian border seeking to preserve their independence. Many of these newly nuclear states would, presumably, have their weapons trained on Russia. Again, if only to protect their own sovereignty.

The Antichrist renounces any attempts to form military groups whose mission is to violate Sharia and the law


  •  Yesterday, 11:50

Sayyed Al-Sadr renounces any attempts to form military groups whose mission is to violate Sharia and the law


The leader of the Sadrist movement, Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr, announced Thursday his renouncing of any efforts to form military groups whose mission is to violate Sharia and the law.

 “I have been informed that there are those who seek to form special military groups whose mission is to violate Sharia and the law and destabilize the security of the country,” said the Minister of al-Sadr Saleh Muhammad al-Iraqi in a statement on behalf of Al-Sadr and conveyed by the Iraqi News Agency INA. 

 “From here, I declare that this is not our actions, nor our morals, nor our way of dealing with the corrupt, ” declaring “renouncing them before Allah Almighty and the Iraqi people.”

 He called “everyone to cooperate with us by reporting them on the one hand and not to engage with them on the other hand,” pointing out that “their actions are in violation of all divine and man-made laws and moral and social systems, boycott them and do not help them in their shameful acts.”

A Eulogy for the Iran-Obama Nuclear Deal

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A Eulogy for the Iran Nuclear Deal

Washington Free Beacon Editors • October 19, 2022 11:15 am

While the Iranian regime is shaken by a protest movement fueled by those who’ve never known a life other than that controlled by the mullahs and their henchmen in the Revolutionary Guard, it is worth reflecting on the wrongheadedness and abject stupidity of the advocates for normalization with this grotesque regime. 

The late, great Irving Kristol once quipped that a neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. It looks like President Joe Biden and the normalization crowd just ran into the Ayatollah in a dark alley and had to empty their pockets.

How else to explain the recent change in tone from the administration and its allies? White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday, “The door for diplomacy will always remain open, but as of now we don’t see a deal coming together anytime soon.” Those remarks followed Iran envoy Robert Malley’s indication that a return to the 2015 nuclear deal is not on the agenda right now. 

Shocker. Biden and the Europeans have pretended for nearly two years that this gang of terrorists could be brought to heel through diplomacy. Backed by the scientific consensus of elite liberal opinion, the policy heavyweights in the Biden administration were certain that the same regime that murders teenage girls in Tehran was capable of hashing out a deal in Vienna on uranium enrichment levels—and keeping its word. 

Imagine what the world would look like now if the Biden administration had gotten its wish. Billions of dollars in cash flowing to Iran as the ayatollahs simultaneously sell hundreds of millions, if not billions, in weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine. 


Jean-Pierre, the White House flack, also assured reporters Monday that the White House “will continue to confront Iran’s behavior in the region.” What, exactly, is the evidence of that? Furthermore, it would be nice to know what the White House plans to do about Iran’s malign behavior beyond the region, as the country now fuels the conflict in Ukraine. 

Former president Barack Obama was barking up the right tree when he told his former lackeys at Pod Save America a few days ago that—oops!—he should have publicly backed the Green Movement in 2009. “In retrospect I think that was a mistake,” he said, adding, “Every time we see a flash, a glimmer of hope, of people longing for freedom, I think we have to … shine a spotlight on it, we have to express some solidarity about it.”

We look forward to his reflections on the ill-advised, and now, thankfully, moribund nuclear deal. If Obama, Biden, and company could believe Iran wasn’t hell-bent on building a bomb, surely they can believe we won’t say, “I told you so.” 

Hamas: Israel’s targeting of Palestinians Outside the Temple Walls

Malaysians stage a protest in support of Palestine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 8 December 2017 [Alexandra Radu/Anadolu Agency]

Hamas: Israel’s targeting of Palestinians abroad is ‘organised crime’

October 19, 2022 at 9:32 am | Published in: Asia & AmericasIsraelMalaysiaMiddle EastNewsPalestineVideos & Photo Stories

Malaysians stage a protest in support of Palestine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 8 December 2017 [Alexandra Radu/Anadolu Agency]October 19, 2022 at 9:32 am

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Hamas said yesterday that Israel’s targeting of Palestinian students abroad is a type of “organised crime” and called for international sanctions on Israel.

Commenting on the Israeli Mossad’s failed attempt to kidnap or assassinate Palestinian programming students in Malaysia, Hamas praised the Malaysian police’s efforts to capture the spy agency’s operatives.

“In light of such Israeli aggression targeting the safety and sovereignty of Malaysia, which is a haven for students from all around the world, we call on the international community and the UN to condemn and criminalise such systemic crimes,” the Palestinian movement said.

“We also urge them to prosecute Israeli occupation leaders at international courts and hold them accountable for their crimes against the Palestinian people at home and abroad.”

Late in September, a group of unidentified people kidnapped Omar Al-Bilbaisi in Kuala Lumpur from his car. They tried to also capture his friend who fled and notified authorities.

Malaysian police were able to identify the car used and have since arrested 11 people who have been charged with being Mossad agents. They face life imprisonment or the death sentence if found guilty.

On 21 April 2018, the Mossad assassinated Palestinian scientist Fadi Al-Batsh in Malaysia.

Major world global powers anxious about Pakistani Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Major world global powers anxious about Pakistan's nukes
Representative Image

Major world global powers anxious about Pakistan’s nukes


21 October, 2022 06:13 am IST

Washington [US], October 21 (ANI): At a time when US President Joe Biden’s words put the spotlight on Pakistan as “the most dangerous nation in the world”, Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities are also occupying a position of significance and creating anxieties for various major global powers.

US President Biden at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception in Los Angeles (California), during which he berated both China and Russia said, “This is a guy (Xi Jinping) who understands what he wants but has an enormous, enormous array of problems. How do we handle that? How do we handle that relative to what’s going on in Russia? And what I think is maybe one of the most dangerous nations in the world: Pakistan. Nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

Pakistan’s government, the Taliban, its various outfits in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and other jihadist groups inside Pakistan have created a worry over the nuclear weaponry falling into terrorist hands, reported Global Strat View.

Pakistan supports the Taliban covertly. The world believes that Pakistan’s nuclear program remains a threat of being stolen by terrorist organizations. Last year in August, after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghan soil, Afghanistan has quickly fallen into the Taliban’s extremist clutches.

The political upheaval in Afghanistan also has regional repercussions, especially for those in neighbouring Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s continued production of fissile material and subsequent weapons, as well as the potential deployment of more tactical nuclear weapons, only makes the increasing possibility of the misuse of these materials more glaring and plausible, reported Global Strat View.

A London-based Pakistani journalist Farooq Sulehria said, “The Talibanization of the Pakistan military is something we can’t overlook. What if there is an internal Taliban takeover of the nuclear assets?”

There has been multiple instance when experts and US Presidents have expressed their concerns over Pakistan’s nukes. During the time of the Obama administration, a Harvard nuclear expert, Graham Allison, stated, “When you map weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, all roads intersect in Pakistan.”

He said this while sitting on the US Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

Moreover, ex-US President Bill Clinton also had similar apprehension regarding Pakistan’s strides towards nuclear testing. Clinton, worried about the geopolitical threat of South Asia if Islamabad was to go ahead with its nuclear armament.

Clinton made all sorts of offers within his ambit. Whether it was a state dinner to billions of dollars in assistance to the country, Clinton tried to persuade the then-Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to put off the nuclear testing.

However, once Clinton was unable to succeed in getting his way, he publicly condemned Islamabad’s move. Clinton described the nuke tests “dangerously destabilizing.” Pakistan went ahead with its testing, and the US imposed crippling economic sanctions in retaliation.

Along the same lines, Generals Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with their high-ranking generals, claimed their awareness of the risks the Afghanistan move would pose for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and its national security. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

How much damage will Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons do?

How much damage could Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons do?

Our podcast on science and technology. This week, we explain how nuclear weapons work and how they could be deployed in Ukraine

Oct 18th 2022Share

THE WAR in Ukraine has raised the nuclear threat to its highest level since the Cuban missile crisis. What types of nuclear weapons could be used in Ukraine, and how much damage could they do?

Cheryl Rofer, a former nuclear scientist at America’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, describes the “tactical” nukes in Russia’s arsenal. Patricia Lewis, research director for international security at Chatham House, explains the destruction that would be wrought if the war turned nuclear. Plus, Shashank Joshi, The Economist’s defence editor, analyses whether Russia’s recent military setbacks increase the risk of nuclear conflict. Alok Jha hosts. Runtime: 36 min

For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.

Will the.Russian Horn Use Nuclear Weapons? Revelation 16

Nuclear weapon tested in 1957 Operation Plumbbob
The Priscilla nuclear test, part of Operation Plumbbob, 25th June 1957. It was a series of nuclear tests conducted between May 28 and October 7, 1957, at the Nevada Test Site. Online bookies are offering odds on Russia using a nuclear weapon this year. Galerie Bilderwelt/GETTY

Will Russia Use Nuclear Weapons? Thousands Are Betting On It

By James Bickerton On 10/18/22 at 11:51 AM EDT

Online betting sites are offering odds on Russia carrying out a nuclear attack this year, as Ukraine continues to resist Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

As Russia has suffered battlefield reverses, such as being almost completely forced out of the northern Kharkiv province last month, some of the country’s top figures have responded with implicit or explicit threats of nuclear weapon use.

In September, while announcing a partial mobilization to boost his forces, Putin threatened to use “all defense methods at our disposal” to protect Russian “territorial integrity.”

Just days later he formally annexed four Ukrainian provinces, which are partially occupied by Russian forces, placing them under this umbrella.

On October 1 Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Putin strongman who runs Russia’s Chechen Republic, called for “low-yield nuclear weapons” to be used against Ukraine.

Polymarket, a cryptocurrency betting site, is currently taking bets on “Will Russia use a nuclear weapon before 2023?”

The current odds are being offered on the use of an “offensive” nuclear weapon are 1-20. This means, if you correctly bet nuclear weapons will be used, you stand to collect $18.97 from a $1 bet after site fees are processed.

Conversely, if you rightly guess they won’t be used you will win $1.04, for the same $1 stake.

Explaining the technicalities Polymarket says: “This market will resolve to ‘Yes’ if the Russian Federation detonates a nuclear device in an offensive capacity by December 31, 2022, 11:59:59 PM ET. Otherwise, this market will resolve to ‘No.’

“To satisfy a ‘Yes’ resolution, the detonation of a nuclear device must be in an offensive capacity (whether deliberate or accidental), must not be a test, and must be either claimed by the Russian Federation or considered by a preponderance of credible reporting and/or information from credible sources to be from the Russian Federation.

“For the purpose of this market’s resolution, determination as to whether a detonation was nuclear will be made by a preponderance of credible reporting.”

Those wishing to bet can transfer crypto into Polymarket “outcome shares,” which can be redeemed in dollars if your bet is successful.

Polymarket argued it is providing a “public good” by providing odds on Russian use of offensive nuclear weapons.

The site read: “A prediction market on whether Russia will use nuclear weapons has been requested many times recently by esteemed academics and thought leaders from across the world, and it is strongly within the public’s interest to have accurate price discovery and realtime forecasts on such a topic.

“Existing prediction markets on this subject lack functional price discovery mechanisms, and thus are misleading the people; therefore it was deemed necessary to support this market as a public good, in order to provide clarity to society on one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.”

According to a recent study by the American Physical Society, the probability of the U.S. successfully intercepting an incoming North Korean nuclear missile is “low.”

Considering how many more missiles Russia has the “idea of an impenetrable shield” against them is “just a fantasy,” according to Laura Grego, an MIT academic who co-chaired the report writing team.

Polymarket has been contacted for comment.