Saturday, March 15, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits West Of Sechura, Peru - The Second 6.0 Or Above Magnitude Tremor To Hit The Country In Less Than 24 Hours; No Tsunami Warning!

March 15, 2014 - PERU - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 has struck the northern coast of Peru at at 23:51:30 UTC on Saturday.


6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Peru.
USGS earthquake location map.

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Peru.
USGS earthquake shakemap intensity map.


The epicentre, with a  shallow depth of 9.8 km, was initially determined to be at 5.566 degrees south latitude and 80.879 degrees west longitude.

It was located at 6km west of Sechura, Peru.


6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Peru.
USGS earthquake uncertainty ratio map.

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Peru.
USGS earthquake population exposure map.


There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center no tsunami warning, watch or advisory is in effect.

According to the USGS, earthquakes in Peru usually occur as thrust-faulting on or near the thrust-interface at the boundary between the South America plate and the subducting Nazca plate.  The Nazca plate subducts beneath the South America plate at the Peru-Chile trench offshore of western South America, and the thrust interface between the two plates dips east-northeast beneath the South American continent.   


6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Peru.
USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Peru.
USGS earthquake estimates and losses.


The boundary-region between the Nazca and South American plates experiences a large number of earthquakes.  One of the largest tremors to hit the country was the magnitude 8.4 earthquake of June 23, 2001, which occurred along the plate boundary to the south.  It killed at least 74 people and destroyed over 17,000 homes.  A magnitude 7.7 earthquake on November 12, 1996, killed at least 14 people and left 12,000 homeless.

This is the second 6.0 or above magnitude earthquake to hit Peru in less than 24 hours. Earlier today, a magnitude 6.2 hit at 21km south southeast of Paracas.


6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake location map.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region).
The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.



Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, making it the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded, and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity. - USGS.



WORLD WAR III: Tensions Escalating Over The Ukraine Crisis - Russia Transfers Nine Warplanes To Belarus To "Counter Massing Of Forces On The Border;" Russian Troops Invade Kherson Oblast, Seize Natural Gas Plant; US Navy Destroyer To Conduct More Black Sea Drills; Obama National Security Aides Meet To Discuss Ukraine!

March 15, 2014 - UKRAINE - Russian forces are amassing beyond the Crimean border, reaching as far as Belarus and reinforced its position by taking control of a village just outside the border of Crimea today. Against this background, President Obama meets with his security team to discuss the crisis, on the eve of a monumental referendum on whether the region should seek annexation by Moscow.

Russia Transfers Nine Warplanes To Belarus To "Counter Massing Of Forces On The Border"
Sukhoi Su-27 (RIA Novosti / Igor Zarembo)

Six Russian Sukhoi-27 fighter jets and three transport planes have been deployed at Bobruisk airfield in Belarus. Earlier this week Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko invited Russian forces to fend off potential NATO threat.

“In case of continuing build-up of military forces in countries bordering Belarus, the country will take adequate response measures,” says a statement from the country’s Defense Ministry in Minsk.

NATO is sending 12 F-16 craft in Poland, in the wake of the Crimea crisis, and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has asked for an even greater US presence. Baltic states have also requested military assistance from NATO.

Just like their NATO counterparts, the Russian aircraft in Belarus will participate in a joint training exercise.

“The joint air defense system [between Russia and Belarus] is intended to guarantee collective security in Eastern Europe,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said.

According to previous military agreements, Russian and Belarusian troops can move freely throughout both countries, though it is unusual for them to be stationed abroad for any prolonged period of time.

Aleksandr Lukashenko has expressed repeated concern about NATO’s eastward expansion since his ascension to the presidency of the 9-million-strong state in 1994, and has been one of Russia’s staunchest allies.

All the same, following the emergency of a possibility of Crimea joining Russia following a referendum on March 16, the Belarus leader has spoken out in favor of “maintaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity”. - RT.


Russian Troops Invade Kherson Oblast, Seize Natural Gas Plant
A column of Russian military vehicles crosses the peninsula of Crimea. AFP

Several Russian military helicopters landed on March 15 in southern Kherson Oblast near Kremlin-occupied Crimea, bringing dozens of commandoes and seizing a natural gas plant.

The moves heightened tension on the eve of a Crimean referendum, which Ukraine and the West consider illegal. Russian troops unexpectedly invaded the Crimean peninsula on Feb. 27 and in the following days Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he might order the use of military forces in Ukraine.

Four helicopters landed near Strilkove village on the north of Arabat Spit, narrow piece of land on the south of Kherson region, bringing 60 commandos, the State Border Service reported. “The border guards together with soldiers (about 20 people) had to move back from the crossroad leading to Henichesk (city nearby) and had to take up defense,” it said in the report.


Women talk as they take a walk with a child in a carriage while armed men, believed to be Russian servicemen, follow
them outside a Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean city of Simferopol, March 14. Crimean citizens
will vote in a referendum tomorrow on whether to become part of the Russian federation. (Vasily Fedosenko)

At about 3:30 p.m., six more helicopters landed there, bringing 60 more commandos. Several military vehicles were riding along the Arabat Spit at the same time.

The Russians told the Ukrainian border guards they came to defend from possble terrorist attack the local natural gas production station owned by Chornomornaftogaz, an Ukraine exploration company that Crimea authorities have declared as its own property.

Election commission workers prepare for Sunday's referendum.
Ukraine's government and Western nations have denounced the
vote as illegitimate. (Andrew Lubimov/Associated Press)
While the border guards said there were no clashes, the Ministry of Defense said in its report that the Ukrainian army reacted, bringing forces of army aviation and airmobile battalion and forcing the invaders to leave the territory.

But based on the information of well-informed army expert Dmytro Tymchuk, head of the Center of Military and Political Researches, the Russians are still there. “At the moment our commandos are approaching the spot,” Tymchuk wrote on his Facebook page. “But there is the fact that (gas production) station for unknown reason wasn’t guarded."

This incident sparked an angry reaction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which called on Russia to immediately leave the occupied territory of Kherson Oblast.

“Ukraine Foreign Ministry declares the military invasion by Russia and demands the Russian side to immediately withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“Ukraine reserves the right to use all necessary measures to stop the military invasion by Russia,” it added. - Kyiv Post.


US Navy Destroyer To Conduct More Black Sea Drills
US Navy officers stand on the deck of the US Navy destroyer "USS Truxtun" in the Bulgarian Black Sea
port of Varna on March 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Anton Stoyanov)

A US Navy guided-missile destroyer will remain in the Black Sea to conduct more exercises with allied ships, its commander said on Saturday, the eve of a breakaway vote in Crimea.

The USS Truxtun this week conducted joint exercises with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces just a few hundred kilometres (miles) away from the disputed Crimea peninsula.

"I cannot comment on our future operations but we will take the opportunity to do some routine exercises with our allies in the region," said Commander Andrew Biehn.

Speaking to reporters aboard the 300-crew ship at the Black Sea port of Varna, Biehn refused to provide details about the drills or the next port of dock of the destroyer, which will leave Varna on Sunday.

The drills were routine and had been "planned a long time before the start of the Crimean crisis." They did not include live firing, he said.

The move comes just days after the Pentagon sought to reassure anxious allies in Central and Eastern Europe over Russia's actions in Ukraine, announcing plans to send more F-15 fighter jets to patrol the skies over Baltic states and stepping up aviation training in Poland.

Pro-Russian forces have taken de facto control of the Crimean peninsula, where a controversial referendum on breaking away from Ukraine to join Russia will be held on Sunday.

The only other US naval ship deployed in the Black Sea is the USS Taylor, a frigate undergoing repairs at the Turkish port of Samsun after having run aground last month. - Yahoo.



Obama National Security Aides Meet To Discuss Ukraine

File photo: White House


President Barack Obama's national security team discussed the Ukraine crisis in a session at the White House on Saturday after a last-ditch bid to find a diplomatic solution to the Cold War-style standoff with Russia floundered.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who just returned from talks with his Russian counterpart in London, was at the White House meeting along with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Obama did not attend the meeting but was being briefed about it and other developments involving Ukraine, said Laura Lucas Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

Crimea's pro-Russia parliament has scheduled a referendum on Sunday to decide whether the region should be annexed by Russia, an ominous development that Obama and his national security team have been trying to head off to no avail.

Obama said on Friday he still hopes a diplomatic solution can be found but that the United States and Europe are prepared to impose "consequences" on Russia if it does not loosen its grip on Crimea.

Kerry held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London on Friday but they reached no breakthrough in the worst East-West dispute in decades.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kerry presented Lavrov with a number of concrete proposals to defuse tensions and address concerns by Moscow over security and protection of minorities within a united Ukraine.

The talks hit a wall early on when it became clear that Lavrov was not authorized by the Kremlin to discuss any proposal that might impact Crimea before the referendum, the official said.

Washington has said it will be ready to move on Monday to impose visa bans and asset freezes, involving Ukrainian and Russian officials, if the referendum goes ahead and it leads to the annexation of Crimea. The European Union and other Western powers have said they will match U.S. sanctions. - Yahoo.



MASS BIRD/FISH DIE-OFF: The Latest Incidents Across The Earth - Massive Amounts Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore In Manzanillo Del Mar, Colombia; Hundreds Of Dead Fish In Hoods Lagoon, Queensland, Australia; 10.1 MILLION Poultry Killed Due To Outbreak Of Avian Flu In South Korea, Over SIX PERCENT Of Its Total Poultry Population; 1,150 Poultry Die Suddenly In Bengkulu, Indonesia; And Hundreds Of Dead Fish Mysteriously Found In A Creek In Babenhausen, Germany!

March 15, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest incidents of mass fish and bird die-offs across the Earth:

Massive Amounts Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore In Manzanillo Del Mar, Colombia.
In a wide expanse of beach there are dead fish washed away with water. July Brown.

Apparently , the sudden lack of oxygen in a body of water would cause massive fish kills, which appear for days on the beaches of Manzanillo del Mar , north of the city. The community claims to be affected , because the smell comes to their businesses and homes and can not fish .

Some people claim that Karibana Manzanillo Club condominium sector , is causing fish kills that are in most of Manzanillo beach extension and channel beside Karibana .

Some members of the community , the condo , renowned for its great golf courses , sewage pours chemical channel , contaminating and killing the small fish and crabs .

Also stated that due to the environmental emergency, they hired Karibana machinery to collect fish and away from the place , also removing watercraft through waves , fish the body of water.

This means reached the affected area at the time and many dead animals were no longer visible in the channel , but on its banks, as well as almost the entire length of the beach, but when turned off the water craft , animals began to massively enter the body of water and died in seconds.

"We are concerned about the smell and leave us work because we have privatized a road to Punta Canoas and will be environmentally damaging . Now you can not fish , Karibana working with chemicals . There must be water pollution , "said Claudia Luna, leader of Manzanillo.

The community leader said the channel was in the community , however it Karibana Club privatized and there would be arriving the water with chemicals.

"In the channel there are many dead fish until eight days ago we thought it was a natural phenomenon of the sea, but we keep finding out , the lake is polluted and oxygen does not reach the sea ," he continued .

Jorge Ramos , another inhabitant " are making a public complaint to the environmental authorities take this and make studies in Guayepo pipe . We live on tourism , people can not stand the smell. We do not know if a chemical sprayed over the golf courses and is entering the pipe or if lack of oxygen. "

Do not throw chemicals
Karibana Club manager , Carlos Abuchaibe said that this phenomenon occurs on the beaches of Manzanillo, and especially in the channel is not a consequence of Karibana .

"It was high tide and entered an amount of fish as the tide had dropped by to go out further with decreasing oxygen died ," he said .

Abuchaibe claims that have not produced chemicals as some say , much less wastewater were discharged because they have two water treatment plants and sewerage system . One plant receives water from the submarine outfall to be treated , and it is this kind of liquid thrown into the golf courses to bring minerals.

He said the channel is privatized , but was adequate with permits and IDs do ask those who come to fish for the safety of the club.

The equipment manager denies taking fish. On the contrary, claims that a retroescavadora removing sand. Finally said the fish kill has not only presented in Manzanillo, on other occasions also seen in Punta Canoas and Nozzle .

A study was done
Olaff Puello, Cardique director , said officials three weeks ago the environmental agency came to the place concerned. Puello said the wetland water level is low and fish die from lack of oxygen , however said yesterday sent a commission to verify these facts and do some research to disseminate the real cause of the phenomenon. At other times , as we have posted here and as Puello said the fish kill was due to the total consumption of oxygen within a few hours by an overpopulation of microscopic algae that bloom at night, drowning ending process . - El Universal. [Translated]



Hundreds Of Dead Fish In Hoods Lagoon, Queensland, Australia.
The council has found the cause of hundreds of dead fish.

The mystery of floating fish has been solved.

Isaac Regional Council launched an investigation after numerous fish went belly up at Hoods Lagoon near Clermont this week.

"The reason for this unfortunate incident has been the release of water into Hoods Lagoon after cleaning the Capricorn reservoir, which lowered oxygen levels in the lagoon," Isaac Regional Council acting chief executive officer Scott Riley said.

Reports of a "large number" of dead fish being washed up at Hoods Lagoon sparked the investigation on Monday.

Council staff, with assistance from environmental health officers, worked fast to aerate the water to prevent more marine life being killed.

"The quick response by our environmental health officers in aerating the water since midday on Monday restored oxygen levels, preventing any further risk to wildlife," he said.

Isaac Regional Council has taken responsibility, and apologised for the mistake that caused oxygen levels to fall.

"We assure residents we're changing internal processes to prevent this from happening again," he said.

"This includes carrying out comprehensive risk assessments and environmental management plans for future water releases."

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has been notified of the incident.

"We are having active and open discussions with EHP," Mr Riley said.

"Our investigation is to be submitted to the department this week," Mr Riley said. - Daily Mercury.



10.1 MILLION Poultry Killed Due To Outbreak Of Avian Flu In South Korea, Over SIX PERCENT Of Its Total Poultry Population.


South Korea has culled over 6 percent of poultry in the country to curb a bird flu outbreak that has hit farms and migratory birds nationwide, government officials said on Friday.

That brings the total number of farm birds slaughtered to 10.16 million, close to a record 10.2 million during an outbreak in 2008, according to data from the agriculture ministry.

No human infection has been reported, but a dog tested positive for bird flu antibodies, suggesting it had been exposed to the disease without being infected, the ministry said in a statement.

Asia's fourth-largest economy has had four bird flu outbreaks in the past 10 years, without any cases of human infection reported.

Sales of chicken in one of Seoul's largest markets dropped by more than half on average last month in the wake of the latest outbreak, according to a ministry official. No nationwide data is available.

South Korea's first case of H5N8 bird flu - different from the strain that has caused human deaths elsewhere in Asia - was found on January 17 at a duck farm in North Jeolla province, around 300 km (186 miles) southwest of Seoul.

Some 28 poultry farms across the nation have been hit by the disease, the ministry said.

South Korea has been stepping up disinfection measures for migratory birds, the suspected source of the present outbreak, at 37 sites across the country. It also curbed the movement of some livestock workers in affected areas.

China has seen a wave of human H7N9 bird flu cases and deaths in 2014. - Euro News.



1,150 Poultry Die Suddenly In Bengkulu, Indonesia.
A total of 1,150 birds in the village of Rawa Indah, District Ilir Talo, Seluma, Bengkulu, was found dead suddenly, last a few days.

This incident makes people worry that there is a bird flu outbreak. Acting Great Swamp Village Chief, Tohir Saputro, explained, the death of poultry that originated from cattle belonging Suwarno, a citizen. The same thing then happened to the other animals in the region.

"This condition makes people afraid of the bird flu outbreak, so I immediately coordinate with the health department," said Tohir, Thursday (03/13/2014).

One member of the team Hall Vertiner Lampung Province, DVM Sulisnawati, visit the location. He said it was still awaiting the results of laboratory tests to ascertain whether the deaths of thousands of birds from exposure to bird flu virus or not.

"We can not be sure of now. Yet when viewed from its characteristics, is suspected of having bird flu virus," said Sulisnawati.

In addition to monitoring in the village of Rawa Indah, officials from the health department also brought some samples of dead birds, among other organs, and the birds in a weak condition.

According to village officials, the death of thousands of birds in the village occurred since Wednesday (12/03/2014). Poultry carcasses discarded by their owners in a way buried, not burned. - Kompas. [Translated]



Hundreds Of Dead Fish Mysteriously Found In A Creek In Babenhausen, Germany.
Icon image


Mysterious fish kill in a creek between upper and Umstadt Babenhausen. There are several hundred dead animals have been discovered since Tuesday. The police have taken water samples and determined now is whether - and if so who - has illegally dumped chemicals into the Richer Bach.

Zentner way dead fish, especially trout, have been taken out of the creek. The "death of distance" is about 8 to 10 kilometers in length. Frank Horneff, spokesman from the competent county darmstadt the castle, said to FFH: "Something I've never seen". - FFH. [Translated]



TERROR ALERT: Report Indicates That U.S. Electric Grid "Inherently Vulnerable" To Sabotage - Multiple Unreported Incidents Raise Major Security Concerns!

March 15, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Electric grid compounds across the country have faced an uptick in unauthorized intrusions by unknown individuals, causing concern that the U.S. grid is “inherently vulnerable” to widespread sabotage, according to a recent oversight report issued by New Jersey’s Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), which monitors the threat level.


U.S. power grid / AP

Following at least eight “reports of intrusions at electrical grid facilities in New Jersey” from October 2013 until January 2014, the ROIC’s Intelligence & Analysis Threat Unit issued a report warning that the U.S. electrical grid is “inherently vulnerable” to attacks that could wipe out power across large swaths of the country.

The ROIC report, released in late February, is marked as “unclassified” but designated “for official use only.” New Jersey State Police Spokesman Trooper Jeff Flynn confirmed that a report of this nature had been commissioned by ROIC when contacted by the Washington Free Beacon.

The multiple incidents of “sabotage” and crime outlined in the report “highlight the grid’s vulnerabilities to potential threats,” according to a copy of the report obtained by the Free Beacon.

U.S. officials and experts have increasingly warned over the years that the electrical grid could be a prime target for terrorists or others seeking to damage the country’s infrastructure and disrupt daily life.

The concern is that many of the incidents outlined in the ROIC report could be a sign that preparations are under away for a larger, coordinated attack on the grid.

Highly sensitive areas of the electrical grid were found to be lightly monitored, leaving them vulnerable to attack, according to the report.

“The electrical grid—a network of power generating plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution lines—is inherently vulnerable,” the report said.

“Transmission substations are critical links in the electrical grid, making it possible for electricity to move long distances and serving as hubs for intersecting power lines,” according to the report. “Many of the grid’s important components sit out in the open, often in remote locations, protected by little more than cameras and chain-link fences.”

While the incidents are greatly concerning to security officials—and remain mostly unresolved—the ROIC “currently does not have enough information to classify the New Jersey incidents listed [in the report] as indicative of pre-operational activity or connect them to a pattern,” according to the report, which does not discount this possibility.

However, the incidents of grid tampering are not isolated to New Jersey.

An unidentified individual in Tucson, Ariz., in January, “removed multiple bolts from an electric tower’s support structure, increasing the potential for collapse and electrical service interruption.”

Authorities suspect that the goal was “sabotage rather than vandalism” due to the “deliberate manner of the bolt removal, including probable acquisition of the requisite tools,” the report said.

In April 2013, “unknown subject(s) fired multiple shots at an electrical transmission substation” in San Jose, Calif., “damaging several transformers,” the report notes.

Surveillance video of the incident shows sparks flying across the compound as bullets strike the substation.

“Authorities subsequently discovered intentionally cut fiber optic cables in a manhole,” according to the report. “No motive or suspects have been identified.”

Sabotage has also been reported in Jacksonville, Ark., where in August 2013, “an identified suspect … removed bolts from the base of a high-voltage transmission line tower and tried to bring down the 100-foot tower with a moving train,” according to the report

One month later, “the subject reportedly set a fire at a substation control house.”

In October of that year, “the subject cut into two electrical poles and used a tractor to pull them down, cutting power to thousands of customers,” according to the report.

While the incidents in San Jose received widespread media attention, several of the others did not.

New Jersey has experienced eight separate incidents of a similar nature since last year.

On Jan. 26, for instance, “employees found a hole, approximately three-foot high by two-foot wide, in the perimeter fence of an electric switching and substation in East Rutherford,” according to the report.

Several days before that incident, on Jan. 22, “an identified subject entered a Burlington generating station using false identification,” according to the report. “The subject claimed he had a gun (none found) and a bomb (package cleared).”

Other incidents include break-ins at certain electrical stations and the theft of various on-site materials.

The ROIC concluded that while “the incidents more likely involve vandalism and theft, rather than sabotage,” any type of “intrusion or damage to substations is a critical concern to the power supply and public safety.”

Counterterrorism expert Patrick Poole warned that these attacks could be a “test-run” for a larger act of sabotage.

“While some of these incidents involving substations can be attributed to metal scavenging, it’s planned attacks, much like the one in San Jose, that have officials worried the most and raises a number of questions,” Poole told the Free Beacon. “Why was this substation targeted? What were they trying to accomplish with this attack? Was this a test-run for something larger?”

“What the New Jersey ROIC report shows is that this fits into a larger pattern of incidents, which should be keeping someone at Homeland Security up at night,” Poole said. “The other big question is how many more of these incidents are going unreported?”

The ROIC report outlines several types of suspicious behavior that authorities should be on the lookout for.

These include “photographing objects or facilities that would not normally be photographed,” instances of individuals “loitering in sensitive areas,” and other types of atypical behavior such as “unfamiliar or out of place persons posing as panhandlers, protesters, vendors, [or] news agents.”

Flynn told the Free Beacon that ROIC aims to analyze and codify various grid incidents across the country in order to “learn from those incidents and apply them to situations here in New Jersey.”

The goal is to reach “potential conclusions to solve potential problems we have in state,” Flynn said in response to questions about the report. - Free Beacon.



ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - Another Snowstorm Set To Sweep From St. Louis To DC, United States?!

March 15, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Spring officially starts on Thursday, but Mother Nature will bring another blast of winter weather from Missouri to Delaware before the seasons change.




A winter full of nasty snow and ice will not end quietly as a gathering storm across the southern Plains on Saturday slides east and collides with a fresh cold air mass on Sunday into Monday.

While the focus initially will be on severe weather, a wintry mess will quickly unfold into Monday.

As yet another push of cold air drives southward across the Midwest and Great Lakes, moisture will surge northward. A swath of snow and sleet is expected to develop from Missouri eastward along the Ohio River on Sunday.

While the precipitation may start as a brief period of rain, the arrival of cold air should allow the majority of the precipitation to fall as snow or sleet in cities such as Springfield and St. Louis, Mo., Louisville, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio.

East of the Appalachians, the most treacherous conditions are expected on Sunday night through the morning commute on Monday as temperatures fall below freezing.

Snow and ice should extend along the Ohio River and then across the Mason-Dixon Line by Monday morning and even reach places as far south as the North Carolina/Virginia border.

Most places in this band can expect enough snow to shovel with some spots in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia picking up around a half foot of fresh snow.

Since much of the snow is forecast to fall at night in locations such as Philadelphia, Pa., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and Charleston, W.Va., roads can quickly become slick and snow covered. Conditions for Monday morning's commute will be poor.

Fortunately, a combination of a higher sun angle in March and temperatures climbing above freezing on Monday afternoon will allow for improving conditions.

Farther north, snow may graze New York City for the St. Patrick's Day parade on Monday morning. The cold, dry air centered over the Northeast is expected to keep the heaviest snow south of the region.

This latest storm comes just days after a taste of spring arrived in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio River Valley. Temperatures reached into the 70s from North Carolina to Maryland last week.

"It's the typical roller-coaster ride of March," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said. "March is notorious for huge temperature swings."

In the wake of the winter weather, milder weather will return by Wednesday. - AccuWeather.



WORLD WAR III: "Like A Warning Shot Across The Bow Towards The Russians" - United States To Sell Strategic Oil Reserves For The First Time In 24 YEARS!

March 15, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The Obama administration plans to sell 5 million barrels, or less than 1 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, calling the move a test of the petrol distribution system. The last time this happened was in August 1990 before the first Gulf War.


An offshore platform docked in Port Fourchon, Louisiana (AFP Photo / Mira Oberman)

“Due to the recent dramatic increase in domestic crude oil production, significant changes in the system have occurred -- including pipeline expansion, construction of new infrastructure, reversed flow of existing pipelines and increased use of domestic crude oil terminals,” William Gibbons, the US Energy Department spokesman said in a statement.

The government rejected a connection with the turmoil in Ukraine or other geopolitical events.

On Thursday the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for April delivery fell by 2.3 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s the biggest drop in two months.

WTI crude has a high sulfur content, similar to oil exported from Russia. The large sale might be a test of the US system’s readiness for a hiccup in Russian supply, analysts suggest.

“The timing of this makes it seem like a warning shot across the bow towards the Russians,” the Financial Times quotes Michael Wittner, the head of global oil research at Société Générale in New York.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned about tough sanctions if Moscow does not draw back from its position over Crimea, in particular support of the region’s status referendum on March 16.

However former US State Department employee David Goldvin thinks the opposite. He considers that test sale is more directed at fighting volatility of supply from larger oil producers like Venezuela and Nigeria, and the long running question over Iran, and its nuclear ambitions. - RT.



PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Measles Cases Continue To Rise In California, Officials Warn!

March 15, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - State health officials announced Friday that the number of measles cases in California was far higher compared to the same time last year.


Measles cases continue to rise in California, officials warn.
An incoming kindergarten student gets his measles, mumps and rubella shot in this file photo. State officials are reporting increases in measles cases. (David McNew / Getty Images)


The California Department of Public Health confirmed 32 such cases so far this year, compared to three measles cases reported over the same period in 2013. The uptick in cases comes amid a record-setting flu season.

And the threat of transmission increases among foreign travelers who come from areas experiencing outbreaks, such as the Philippines.

"We can expect to see more imported cases of this vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer and director of the Public Health Department.

At least 10 cases were reported in Los Angeles County, seven cases were reported in Orange County and five in San Mateo County, officials say. Alameda and Santa Clara counties each reported one case and Contra Costa County reported four such cases, officials said.

At least seven cases included people who traveled to the Philippines, where a large outbreak is occurring. Two others had traveled to India and another to Vietnam, where measles is endemic.

Officials say immunization is the best defense against measles. In fact, they say the high immunization rates in California have kept preventable childhood diseases, such as measles, at record lows during the last 20 years. - LA Times.




FIRE IN THE SKY: Green Fireball Lights Up The Night Skies Over Northwest Italy!

March 15, 2014 - ITALY - A green fireball crossed the skies of Northwest Italy last night, at a speed of 60 km per hour.




Many have witnessed the passage of the "super shooting star", from Genoa to Milan, Turin and up to Parma. The sighting occurred around 10 pm local time. Scientists have reassured that this is not a rare phenomenon.


WATCH: Fireball over Italy.

 

- Quotidiano di Ragusa. [Translated]



WORLD WAR III: The Tiger Awakens - China Warns of “Retaliatory Action” And “Unforeseeable Consequences” Over U.S. Monday Deadline As Russia Vetoes US-Sponsored UN Resolution Declaring Crimea Vote Invalid!

March 15, 2014 - UKRAINE - Yesterday Secretary of State and flip-flopper extraordinaire John Kerry advised Russia that Vladimir Putin has until Monday to pull back his forces from Ukraine.




Failure to do so would lead to serious repercussions. Kerry was light on details, but we can assume he was talking about some sort of economic sanctions:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a top critic of President Obama’s foreign policy, asked what the administration would do if Russian forces advance farther into the eastern area of Ukraine, and the new government in Kiev asks the U.S. for weapons to fight the Russians.

Kerry responded carefully, saying “we have contingencies – we are talking through various options that may or may not be available.”

“Our hope is not to create hysteria or excessive concern about that at this point in time,” he said. “Our hope is to avoid that, but there’s no telling that we can.”
It’s quite obvious, based on Kerry’s statement, that the Obama Administration really has no idea what to do, as they are still talking through “various options,” something that probably should have been worked out well before President Obama began slinging rhetoric over the crisis.

What the Obama administration assumes will happen is that they’ll force Russia into compliance by coming after their economy. Obama will hit the Late Night TV circuit to tout his success, we’ll all laugh about it, and then go on our merry way. Putin will be left embarrassed and laying in the fetal position sucking his thumb. At least that’s the plan.

But two can play at that game and China, which has stood by Russia’s show of force in Europe since the get-go, has now upped the ante.

It’s a brilliant move designed, once again, to show the world that President Obama and the United States are no longer running the show.
Sanctions could lead to retaliatory action, and that would trigger a spiral with unforeseeable consequences,” warns China’s envoy to Germany adding that “we don’t see any point in sanctions.”

On the heels of Merkel’s warning that Russia risked “massive” political and economic damage if it did not change course, Reuters reports ambassador Shi Mingde urged patience saying “the door is still open” for diplomacy (though we suspect it is not) ahead of this weekend’s referendum.

Russia’s Deputy Economy Minister Alexei Likhachev responded by promising “symmetrical” sanctions by Moscow. So now we have China joining the fray more aggressively.
Via Reuters,
China’s top envoy to Germany has warned the West against punishing Russia with sanctions for its intervention in Ukraine, saying such measures could lead to a dangerous chain reaction that would be difficult to control. In an interview with Reuters days before the European Union is threatening to impose its first sanctions on Russia since the Cold War, ambassador Shi Mingde issued the strongest warning against such measures by any top Chinese official to date.

“We don’t see any point in sanctions,” Shi said. “Sanctions could lead to retaliatory action, and that would trigger a spiral with unforeseeable consequences. We don’t want this.”


Using her [Merkel's] toughest rhetoric since the crisis began, she warned in a speech in parliament on Thursday that Russia risked “massive” political and economic damage if it did not change course in the coming days.

Russia’s Deputy Economy Minister Alexei Likhachev responded by promising “symmetrical” sanctions by Moscow. But Shi urged patience, saying the door for talks should remain open even after a referendum on Sunday in which Ukraine’s southern region of Crimea could vote to secede and join Russia. Merkel and other western leaders have denounced the referendum as illegal and demanded that it be canceled.

“We still see a chance to avoid an escalation. The door to talks is still open. We should use this possibility, also after the referendum,” Shi said.
Zero Hedge via The Daily Sheeple
The White House’s deadline for Russia to pull back is Monday.

Will Obama blink again, as he did in Syria?

Let’s remember that China holds trillions of dollars of US debt. All they have to do is hint (not even actually do it) that they will pull back on Treasury purchases and we’re toast within days.

We shouldn’t be at all surprised if, on Monday, Vladimir Putin thumbs his nose at the west again and actually sends his troops across the Crimean border into Ukraine.

One thing’s for sure. President Obama’s foreign policy has been a complete and utter disaster on every front. Either this destruction of America’s worldwide credibility is pre-planned or there is a gaggle of idiots in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps both. - SHTF Plan.


Russia Vetoes US-Sponsored UN Resolution Declaring Crimea Vote Invalid
Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council’s resolution declaring the upcoming referendum on the future status of autonomous republic of Crimea invalid and urging all states not to recognize its results.

China abstained as 13 council members supported the resolution and Russia voted against.




The draft resolution noted that the Ukrainian government in Kiev has not authorized the referendum and said that it cannot be valid.

“This referendum can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea; and calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea on the basis of this referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status,” the documents reads.

Moscow has a veto right as one of five permanent members of the Security Council.


 WATCH: Russia vetoes UN resolution on Crimea referendum.

 


It was “no secret that Russia would vote against the US draft resolution,” Russia’s envoy at the UN Vitaly Churkin said ahead of the voting. He added that Moscow would respect the choice of Crimeans.

“We cannot accept its basic assumption: to declare illegal the planned March 16 referendum where there residents of the Republic of Crimea should decide on their future,” Churkin said, explaining Moscow’s decision to veto the proposed document.

“The philosophy of the authors of the draft runs counter to one of the basic principles of the international law – the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Article 1 of the UN Charter,” the Russian diplomat said.


Liu Jieyi, China's Ambassador to the United Nations


This principle was also confirmed by the 1970 UN Declaration on the Principles of International Law, and a number of other decisions by the UN General Assembly, and the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, Churkin said.

Russia does not dispute the principle of territorial integrity, which is “of, course, very important,” the envoy said.

“In is also understandable that enjoyment of the right of self-determination through a separation from an existing state is an extraordinary measure, applied when future coexistence within a single state becomes impossible,” Churkin said.

In the majority of cases it was implemented without the agreement of the state authorities.

Crimea’s coexisting within Ukraine apparently became impossible as a result of “legal vacuum” that followed the “unconstitutional armed coup” carried out in Kiev by radical nationalists in February and direct threats by these individuals to set their order across Ukraine, Russia’s UN representative said.

On Sunday, the Crimeans are going to decide if they want the republic to remain a part of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation.

European nations and the US said earlier they would not recognize the outcome of the referendum and warned Russia of sanctions over its stance on Ukraine.

Speaking after the vote by the 15-member Security Council, Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the UN said it was “a sad and remarkable moment”.

France’s envoy, Gerard Araud, said he was incredulous at what he called Russia's annexation of Crimea, under the pretext of protecting Russians in the region. “This annexation ... goes beyond Ukraine, it concerns us all,” he said, as cited by Reuters. “This veto must be seen as a defeat only for Russia.”

Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said that the “the resounding message” from the vote is that “Russia stands isolated in this council and in the international community”.

Beijing, traditionally very sensitive when it comes to territorial integrity particularly because of Tibet, reiterated its support for “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.” China's ambassador to the UN, Liu Jieyi called for a political solution and an “international coordinating mechanism” to resolve the dispute, cited AP.


Employees prepare the polling booth in one of the polling stations of Sevastopol on March 15, 2014,
on the eve of the referendum in Crimea.(AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)


Resolution ‘ungrounded’, aimed to serve US geopolitical interests

The UN resolution is focused on alleged illegitimacy of the upcoming referendum in Crimea, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued after the vote. Creating an atmosphere of distrust and falsehood appears to be the main goal of the authors, the ministry added.

According to Russian diplomats, the US proposal regarding a UN resolution on the situation in Ukraine was ungrounded. It can only be explained by Americans’ “overwhelming desire” to politicize already complicated situation and continue aggravating international hysteria around the former Soviet republic for the benefit of the US geopolitical interests.

“The very initiative had no grounds from the beginning since events in Ukraine do not pose any threat to international peace and security – that the Security Council deals with in accordance with the UN Charter,” the statement posted on the ministry’s website reads.

Washington does not care about Ukrainian stability, prosperity and safety, Moscow said.

“They are still using ‘Cold War’ categories – which should seem to be forgotten long ago – in order to impose their view of Ukrainian political structure,” said the Foreign Ministry's department of information and press.

Russia hopes though that the UN member-states, who have so far been biased in their approach to the situation in Ukraine, will take a path of constructive cooperation on the settlement of the crisis and providing rights of all the citizens, including in eastern and south-eastern regions of the country, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin press-secretary believes speculations regarding Russia’s “self-isolation” in connection with the events in Ukraine are absurd.

“It would be illogical, unrealistic and absurd today – in the era of globalization and total economic interdependence,” Dmitry Peskov said Saturday in an interview with Russian REN-TV channel.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson believes that current contradictions between Moscow and western partners are not about a new ‘Cold War.’

“We sincerely believe that both we and our partners will have enough political wisdom and political realism to avoid further deepening of ideological or any other standoff over Ukraine,” Peskov said. Despite remaining differences, Russia really does appreciate its continuing contacts with representatives of other states. - RT.



THE AGE OF OBAMA: Precursors To The End Of The United States Corporation - Amid NSA Fallout, Obama Relinquishes U.S. Control Of The Internet; New Global Governance Established By The Internet Corporation For Assigned Names And Numbers (ICANN)!

March 15, 2014 - THE INTERNET - U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web.




Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

The change would end the long-running contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit group. That contract is set to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete.

“We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan,” Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, said in a statement.

The announcement received a passionate response, with some groups quickly embracing the change and others blasting it.

In a statement, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) called the move “consistent with other efforts the U.S. and our allies are making to promote a free and open Internet, and to preserve and advance the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance.”

But former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tweeted: “What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet.”

The practical consequences of the decision were harder to immediately discern, especially with the details of the transition not yet clear. Politically, the move could alleviate rising global concerns that the United States essentially controls the Web and takes advantage of its oversight position to help spy on the rest of the world.

U.S. officials set several conditions and an indeterminate timeline for the transition from federal government authority, saying a new oversight system must be developed and win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world. An international meeting to discuss the future of Internet is scheduled to start on March 23 in Singapore.

The move’s critics called the decision hasty and politically tinged, and voiced significant doubts about the fitness of ICANN to operate without U.S. oversight and beyond the bounds of U.S. law.

“This is a purely political bone that the U.S. is throwing,” said Garth Bruen, a security fellow at the Digital Citizens Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group that combats online crime. “ICANN has made a lot of mistakes, and ICANN has not really been a good steward.”

Business groups and some others have long complained that ICANN’s decision-making was dominated by the interests of the industry that sells domain names and whose fees provide the vast majority of ICANN’s revenue. The U.S. government contract was a modest check against such abuses, critics said.

“It’s inconceivable that ICANN can be accountable to the whole world. That’s the equivalent of being accountable to no one,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade group representing major Internet commerce businesses.

U.S. officials said their decision had nothing to do with the NSA spying revelations and the worldwide controversy they sparked, saying there had been plans since ICANN’s creation in 1998 to eventually migrate it to international control.

“The timing is now right to start this transition both because ICANN as an organization has matured, and international support continues to grow for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance,” Strickling said in a statement.

Although ICANN is based in Southern California, governments worldwide have a say in the group’s decisions through an oversight body. ICANN in 2009 made an “Affirmation of Commitments” to the Commerce Department that covers several key issues.

Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN, disputed many of the complaints about the transition plan and promised an open, inclusive process to find a new international oversight structure for the group.

“Nothing will be done in any way to jeopardize the security and stability of the Internet,” he said.

The United States has long maintained authority over elements of the Internet, which grew from a Defense Department program that started in the 1960s. The relationship between the United States and ICANN has drawn wider international criticism in recent years, in part because big American companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft play such a central role in the Internet’s worldwide functioning. The NSA revelations exacerbated those concerns.

“This is a step in the right direction to resolve important international disputes about how the Internet is governed,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a group that promotes open access to the Internet.

Verizon, one of the world’s biggest Internet providers, issued a statement saying, “A successful transition in the stewardship of these important functions to the global multi-stakeholder community would be a timely and positive step in the evolution of Internet governance.”

ICANN’s most important function is to oversee the assigning of Internet domains — such as dot-com, dot-edu and dot-gov — and ensure that the various companies and universities involved in directing digital traffic do so safely.

Concern about ICANN’s stewardship has spiked in recent years amid a massive and controversial expansion that is adding hundreds of new domains, such as dot-book, dot-gay and dot-sucks, to the Internet’s infrastructure. More than 1,000 new domains are slated to be made available, pumping far more fee revenue into ICANN.

Major corporations have complained, however, that con artists already swarm the Internet with phony Web sites designed to look like the authentic offerings of respected brands.

“To set ICANN so-called free is a very major step that should done with careful oversight,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. “We would be very concerned about that step.” - Washington Post.



WORLD WAR III: Russia Intercepts United States Drone Over Crimea - Breaks U.S. Operators Link Using "Complex Radio-Electronic Technology," Lands It Intact Into Kremlin Hands!

March 15, 2014 - CRIMEA - A Russian arms group said on Friday it has intercepted a surveillance drone belonging to the United States above the Ukrainian region of Crimea.


An example of a US drone. USAF

“The drone was flying at about 4,000 meters (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with U.S. operators with complex radio-electronic” technology, said Rostec in a statement quoted by Agence France-Presse.

Rostec said the alleged U.S. drone fell “almost intact into the hands of self-defense forces.”

The Russian arms and technology group said it had manufactured the equipment used to down the aircraft, but did not specify who was operating it.

“Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria,” Rostec said on its website, which also carried a picture of what it said was the captured drone.

The photograph appeared to show an apparently armed drone in flight, rather than debris.

The United States earlier said it is ready to respond quickly to the crisis in Ukraine after Russia failed to take steps to ease the conflict.

“We have obviously not gotten to a situation where Russia has chosen to de-escalate, where Russia has chosen a path of resolving the situation peacefully and through diplomacy. That is regrettable. We will have to see how the next several days unfold,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing.

“We stand ready to respond should the referendum go forward on Sunday,” Carney said. Asked how soon the response would come, he said, “I think without putting too fine a point on it, I'd say quickly.”


A U.S. predator drone takes off for a surveillance flight near the Mexican border on March 7, 2013 (AFP)


“We still hope that there is an avenue here that Russia will take in order to address its concerns in Ukraine in a manner consistent with international law, in a manner that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Carney added.

“But there's no question that we're pretty late in the game here with regards to the situation and this referendum on Sunday,” Carney added.

Carney’s comments came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London in talks aimed at reducing tensions ahead of the planned referendum.

Lavrov said on Friday that his country has no plans to invade southeast Ukraine.

“Russia has no, and cannot have, any plans to invade the southeast region of Ukraine,” Lavrov said.

After several hours of talks with Kerry, Lavrov confirmed there was “no common vision” between the two nations - although he described the dialogue as “useful.”

He reaffirmed that Russia will “respect the results of the referendum” in Crimea and said sanctions would harm relations. “Our partners also realize that sanctions are counterproductive,” he said.

European and U.S. leaders have repeatedly urged Moscow to pull back its troops in Crimea or face possible economic sanctions and political isolation. - Al Arabiya.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southeast Of Paracas, Peru - No Tsunami Warning!

March 15, 2014 - PERU - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 has struck Peru at at 08:59:20 GMT on Saturday.


6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake location map.

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake shakemap intensity map.

The epicentre, with a  shallow depth of 9.85 km, was initially determined to be at 14.0563 degrees south latitude and 76.2263 degrees west longtitude.

It was located at 21km south southeast of Paracas, Peru.


6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake uncertainty ratio map.

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake population exposure map.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center no tsunami warning, watch or advisory is in effect.

According to the USGS, earthquakes in Peru usually occur as thrust-faulting on or near the thrust-interface at the boundary between the South America plate and the subducting Nazca plate.  The Nazca plate subducts beneath the South America plate at the Peru-Chile trench offshore of western South America, and the thrust interface between the two plates dips east-northeast beneath the South American continent.   


6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Paracas, Peru.
USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

The boundary-region between the Nazca and South American plates experiences a large number of earthquakes.  One of the largest tremors to hit the country was the magnitude 8.4 earthquake of June 23, 2001, which occurred along the plate boundary to the south.  It killed at least 74 people and destroyed over 17,000 homes.  A magnitude 7.7 earthquake on November 12, 1996, killed at least 14 people and left 12,000 homeless.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of South America (Nazca Plate Region).
The South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 65 mm/yr in the north. Although the rate of subduction varies little along the entire arc, there are complex changes in the geologic processes along the subduction zone that dramatically influence volcanic activity, crustal deformation, earthquake generation and occurrence all along the western edge of South America.

Most of the large earthquakes in South America are constrained to shallow depths of 0 to 70 km resulting from both crustal and interplate deformation. Crustal earthquakes result from deformation and mountain building in the overriding South America plate and generate earthquakes as deep as approximately 50 km. Interplate earthquakes occur due to slip along the dipping interface between the Nazca and the South American plates. Interplate earthquakes in this region are frequent and often large, and occur between the depths of approximately 10 and 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes have occurred on this subduction zone interface that were followed by devastating tsunamis, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world. Other notable shallow tsunami-generating earthquakes include the 1906 M8.5 earthquake near Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the 1922 M8.5 earthquake near Coquimbo, Chile, the 2001 M8.4 Arequipa, Peru earthquake, the 2007 M8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru, and the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake located just north of the 1960 event.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.



Large intermediate-depth earthquakes (those occurring between depths of approximately 70 and 300 km) are relatively limited in size and spatial extent in South America, and occur within the Nazca plate as a result of internal deformation within the subducting plate. These earthquakes generally cluster beneath northern Chile and southwestern Bolivia, and to a lesser extent beneath northern Peru and southern Ecuador, with depths between 110 and 130 km. Most of these earthquakes occur adjacent to the bend in the coastline between Peru and Chile. The most recent large intermediate-depth earthquake in this region was the 2005 M7.8 Tarapaca, Chile earthquake.

Earthquakes can also be generated to depths greater than 600 km as a result of continued internal deformation of the subducting Nazca plate. Deep-focus earthquakes in South America are not observed from a depth range of approximately 300 to 500 km. Instead, deep earthquakes in this region occur at depths of 500 to 650 km and are concentrated into two zones: one that runs beneath the Peru-Brazil border and another that extends from central Bolivia to central Argentina. These earthquakes generally do not exhibit large magnitudes. An exception to this was the 1994 Bolivian earthquake in northwestern Bolivia. This M8.2 earthquake occurred at a depth of 631 km, making it the largest deep-focus earthquake instrumentally recorded, and was felt widely throughout South and North America.

Subduction of the Nazca plate is geometrically complex and impacts the geology and seismicity of the western edge of South America. The intermediate-depth regions of the subducting Nazca plate can be segmented into five sections based on their angle of subduction beneath the South America plate. Three segments are characterized by steeply dipping subduction; the other two by near-horizontal subduction. The Nazca plate beneath northern Ecuador, southern Peru to northern Chile, and southern Chile descend into the mantle at angles of 25° to 30°. In contrast, the slab beneath southern Ecuador to central Peru, and under central Chile, is subducting at a shallow angle of approximately 10° or less. In these regions of “flat-slab” subduction, the Nazca plate moves horizontally for several hundred kilometers before continuing its descent into the mantle, and is shadowed by an extended zone of crustal seismicity in the overlying South America plate. Although the South America plate exhibits a chain of active volcanism resulting from the subduction and partial melting of the Nazca oceanic lithosphere along most of the arc, these regions of inferred shallow subduction correlate with an absence of volcanic activity. - USGS.