The Next Big ONE: The Sixth Seal Of New York City

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

Ramapo Fault Line

Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.


Obama’s US Policy is History (Ezekiel 17)

US sends message to North Korea, China with Syria strike


The US missile strike on Syria contained a clear message for North Korea and its main ally China, but not one strong enough to push Pyongyang off its nuclear weapons path, analysts said Saturday.

While the timing was largely coincidental, the fact that US President DonaldTrump ordered the strike while hosting a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping carried particular resonance given that the North’s nuclear ambitions — and how best to thwart them — was among the top agenda items of their meeting.

And exercising the military option added some extra weight to Trump’s recent threat of unilateral action against Pyongyang if Beijing fails to help kerb its neighbour’s nuclear weapons programme.

Kim Yong-Hyun, a professor at Dongguk University said the strike against Syria was a statement of intent that was meant for a wide readership.

“It signals to Pyongyang that the US has a new sheriff in town who isn’t hesitant about pulling his gun from the holster,” Kim said.

But while the move might give the North pause, it is unlikely to deter a leadership that views nuclear weapons as the sole guarantee of its future survival.

“In the long term, US military actions overseas won’t help kerb the North’s nuclear pursuit,” Kim said.

Nuclear determination

The North has carried out five nuclear tests — two of them last year — and expert satellite imagery analysis suggests it could well be preparing for a sixth.

And Pyongyang has shown no sign of reining in a missile testing programme ultimately aimed at securing the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

If Thursday’s strike was a warning to other countries, it was one that Pyongyang, which regularly cites US hostility as the driving force behind its nuclear weapons development, is quite familiar with.

“Trump’s attack on Syria is unlikely to have any significant effect on a North Korea that is already well versed in the threat posed by the United States,” said Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

At the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the then North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il disappeared from public view for around six weeks — and was widely believed to have gone into hiding for fear of a US attack.

Chang Yong-Seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification at Seoul National University, said Kim’s son, current leader Kim Jong-Un, had no reason to take such precautions. “Armed with nuclear weapons, he would hardly flinch at the attack in Syria,” Chang said.

As if to underline the point, North Korean state media released photos of a smiling Kim inspecting a mushroom farm.

Warning to China?

The question then arises as to what impact the US president’s willingness to exercise his military muscle may have on China’s thinking.

China is North Korea’s economic lifeline and as such enjoys more leverage over its maverick neighbour than any other country.

Like his predecessors in the White House, Trump wants China to do more to influence the North’s behaviour, but has gone further than others in threatening to go it alone if Beijing fails to step up to the plate.

In that context, the strike against Syria may resonate more firmly in Beijing than Pyongyang.

It’s a signal that Trump’s administration will not only talk, they will act”, said Wang Dong, Associate Professor and Director of the School of International Studies at Peking University.

While China has clearly lost patience with Pyongyang’s nuclear provocations, it is extremely wary of any response that might bring about North Korea’s collapse and chaos on its doorstep.

“From the Chinese point of view, there is still room to explore a path for a diplomatic solution”, Wang said.

Jia Qingguo, a professor of International Relations at Beijing University, said the North’s nuclear arsenal and highly sensitive geopolitical position meant the fallout of any military action could be catastrophic. “A small kick could provoke big disasters. It’s not like Iraq,” Jia said.

Although China’s state media went strong on photos and coverage of the Xi-Trump summit, it gave little space to news of the strikes against Syria, with few editorials or commentaries.

One exception was the nationalist-leaning Global Times which suggested that Trump’s “show of force” was rash and ill-considered.

“This was Trump’s first major move in international affairs, and it leaves an impression that the decision was made in haste and not without contradiction,” the newspaper said.

The South Korea Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

Report: Trump Considering Placing Nuclear Weapons in South Korea as Deterrent to North

According to NBC News, the National Security Council has presented Donald Trump and his advisers with a range of options to counteract the North Korean threat, among them positioning nuclear weapons in South Korea or assassinating the country’s dictator Kim Jong-un.

Another option would be to perform military exercises as a show of force in the region, using strategic bombers and practicing long range strikes, with the potential to take out some of North Korea’s key military infrastructure.

The consideration for military proliferation in South Korea comes amidst rising tensions in the region, as the North launched ballistic missile tests on Wednesday morning in another provocative act.

“We have 20 years of diplomacy and sanctions under our belt that has failed to stop the North Korean program,” a senior intelligence officer told NBC. “I’m not advocating pre-emptive war, nor do I think that the deployment of nuclear weapons buys more for us than it costs.”

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has previously warned that any attack from North Korea on the United States would lead to a retaliation that is both “effective and overwhelming.”

In March, Donald Trump claimed that China has “done very little to help” reduce the North Korean threat. Following his meeting this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said the pair had made “tremendous progress” in the relationship between the two countries.

North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years. China has done little to help!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2017

This week, Trump warned that, “if China is not going to solve the North Korean threat, [America] will.”

“China has great influence over North Korea and China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Trump said. “And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”

During his presidential campaign, Trump called for countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons in order to reduce the North Korean threat.

The news also follows Trump’s decision on Thursday to order airstrikes against Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime in response to a chemical weapons attack carried out by the regime. Before the strike took place, Kim Jong-un congratulated al-Assad on the 70th anniversary of the country’s ruling Ba’ath party, suggesting the pair have a warm relationship.

You can follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at

Antichrist Orders Assad to Step Down

Iraq’s Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urges Syria’s Assad to step down

Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, also calling on Washington and Moscow to stop intervening in the conflict.

The Najaf-based Shiite cleric condemned the killing of 87 people, including 31 children, in a suspected chemical attack last week in a rebel-held Syrian town that has been widely blamed on Damascus.

“I would consider it fair for President Bashar al-Assad to resign and leave power, allowing the dear people of Syria to avoid the scourge of war and terrorist oppression,” he said in a statement.

The United States fired a barrage of 59 cruise missiles at Shayrat airbase in Syria early on Friday to push Damascus, despite its denials of responsibility.

Sadr, who led a militia that fought the US occupation of Iraq, also condemned the American missile strike, urging all foreign parties involved in the Syria conflict to pull out.

“I call on all sides to withdraw their military assets from Syria so that the Syrian people take things into their own hands. They are the only ones with the right to decide their fate — the alternative will turn Syria to rubble,” he said.

Several Iraqi Shiite militias, some of them directly supported by Iran, are helping Assad’s camp in the Syria conflict by sending fighting units across the border.

Sadr’s forces have focused on protecting the holy sites and his drive against corruption and nepotism has drawn support from beyond his traditional base.

The Iraqi government on Friday condemned the suspected chemical attack and said it supported any initiative aimed at punishing those responsible.

Last Update: Saturday, 8 April 2017 KSA 22:43 – GMT 19:43

Antichrist Unifies Iraq (Revelation 13)

Kirkuk: Prospects for a Turkey-Shiite alliance?


One week ago, Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim took the initiative to raise the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) flag alongside the Iraqi flag on public buildings in Kirkuk. A referendum decision on Kirkuk’s future followed his provocative action, and tensions persist despite the recent decision of the Iraqi parliament to reverse this decision.

Amid KRG President Massoud Barzani’s voicing of his intention to hold an independence referendum at the “earliest time,” the status of the Kirkuk province suddenly became controversial.

Along with Iraqi Arabs and Turkmens, Turkey officially communicated its concern about these recent events and declarations. Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın warned Barzani against an eventual referendum, while Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım stressed the importance of Kirkuk’s plural composition and its attachment to Iraq. Meanwhile nationalist protests erupted in Turkey, especially in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Ankara, with protesters holding signs reading “Kirkuk is Turkish and will remain so forever.”

However, it is important to note that the main opposition against Kurdish flags in Kirkuk has come mainly from Iraqi Shiites. Indeed, Kirkuk’s abundant oil resources make it a key strategic and economic city.

In August 2016, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr made a strong statement about disputes over Kirkuk, stressing that Kirkuk is for “all Iraqis” and saying its annexation to the KRG is “impossible.” More recently and in a similar fashion, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi emphasized that Kirkuk is “for all the people of Kirkuk with all its communities,” adding that “Kirkuk is not a part of the Kurdistan region and Iraq’s laws apply there.”

Everybody knows that al-Abadi has little capacity to resist demands from the United States. As a result, one may expect him to conduct a “U-turn” if the U.S. backs Kirkuk’s attachment to a future independent Kurdistan. However, al-Sadr – the bête noire of the Americans – is certainly capable of blocking such an attempt, as most recently demonstrated by the Green Zone protests.

Al-Sadr is widely known not only as a powerful Shiite cleric, he is also a convinced Iraqi nationalist. He openly contests sectarianism and advocates a unified Iraq. In an interview he gave in August 2016, al-Sadr stressed that the Kurds are Iraq’s partners and said he hoped they would not secede from Iraq.

In October 2016, when Turkish-Iraqi bilateral relations were going through tension over the Turkish military presence in Bashiqa, the first Iraqi who posed a serious threat to Turkey was al-Sadr. “Withdraw your troops from Bashiqa with honor before you are kicked out by force,” he said at the time. Today, however, Turkey and important segments of Iraqi Shiites share at least two common interests: Preserving Kirkuk’s present status and defending the territorial integrity of Iraq.

Despite numerous critical confrontations, Turkey has managed to successfully revive its ties with Russia. Perhaps the time has now come to initiate dialogue with the Shiites, starting in neighboring Iraq.