Thursday, January 26, 2012

RATTLE & HUM: "Sounds Of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Humming Noise Phenomena Continues; More Stories From Across Planet Earth!

Here are the latest videos and reports of strange sounds heard across the globe:

Washington D.C. Suburb, United States.

Buffalo, New York, United States.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Strange noises reported around North Battleford.
There's been a lot of buzz over the last few weeks about strange sounds being heard in the atmosphere. People around the world and here at home have reported hearing some bizarre noises. The latest were recorded in the Battlefords last weekend. Ian Hamilton, North Battleford's mayor, says he can't explain it. "What I experienced was a scraping sound, like a snowplow." Mike Halstead, a North Battleford resident, was lying in bed when his phone rang. Calls and text messages came in from his friends, each reporting strange noises. "That's when the goose bumps got me and I thought ‘that's awfully strange'." It's now days after and the city is still abuzz with talk about the sounds. Everyone has his or her own theory. But the phenomenon has stretched beyond North Battleford. Similar experiences were reported in Saskatoon, northern Saskatchewan, and parts of the USA and Europe.

University of Saskatchewan professor Jean-Pierre St. Maurice says there is a natural explanation. "Somehow they are picking up noise from an electrical antenna that is there. That is electromagnetic noise. " St. Maurice says its normal and there is nothing to worry about. Whether a scientific explanation will satisfy all the people who heard something they can't explain is up in the air. - CTV.

Rumblings in Sooke, Vancouver Sparks Mystery.
In the last 48 hours a number of people in Sooke have reported feeling powerful tremors that some believe are an earthquake. “I heard what sounded like a freight train coming, that rumble, and it was very brief. My bed actually shifted,” one Sooke homeowner told CTV News. Seismologists say there are no indications of an earthquake in the Sooke area and all calling the recent reports a mystery.On Wednesday several employees downtown felt similar shaking but believed it was a result of blasting at a downtown construction site.

Alison Bird with the Pacific Geo Science Centre says, “It would have to be an extremely large explosion for people in Sooke to feel the Victoria blast”. The District of Sooke, the Sooke Fire Department, and the RCMP were all contacted but were unable to shed any light on the rumblings. The Department of National Defense also denied have any part in the tremors. South of the border the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station says they didn’t have any aircrafts operating Tuesday because of high winds. - CTV.

Malaysia Ministry seeks recordings of strange noises in sky.  
The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry wants to collect audio recordings of the purported strange noises in the sky heard by residents of Kota Samarahan, Sarawak. In a Sinar Harian report, Deputy Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusuf said the ministry was collecting as much "evidence" as possible on the bizarre happening so it could submit its report to the National Space Agency (Angkasa) for further investigation. "This incident is no laughing matter. We hope those who have audio or video recordings of the noises can come forward so we can investigate," said Fadillah, adding that any evidence can be sent to the Petrajaya parliamentary service centre in Jalan Astana, Kuching.

Residents of Kota Samarahan claimed to have heard noises resembling "loud snorings" in the wee hours of Jan 11 and Jan 12, triggering speculations and apocalyptic theories among the fascinated. The daily reported that residents in Budapest, Hungary and Conklin, Canada had also heard similar peculiar noises in the sky on the same dates. The daily also quoted international reports saying the strange noises heard globally could have originated from the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) programme, an ionospheric research programme based in Gakona, Alaska in the United States. - Asia One.

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: Giant Veil of "Cold Plasma" Discovered High Above Earth - Clouds of Charged Particles Stretch a Quarter the Way to the Moon!

Clouds of "cold plasma" reach from the top of Earth's atmosphere to at least a quarter the distance to the moon, according to new data from a cluster of European satellites.

Earth generates cold plasma—slow-moving charged particles—at the edge of space, where sunlight strips electrons from gas atoms, leaving only their positively charged cores, or nuclei.
(Find out how cold plasma might also help explain why Mars is missing its atmosphere.)

Researchers had suspected these hard-to-detect particles might influence incoming space weather, such as this week's solar flare and resulting geomagnetic storm. That's because solar storms barrage Earth with similar but high-speed charged particles. Still, no one could be certain what the effects of cold plasma might be without a handle on its true abundance around our planet. "It's like the weather forecast on TV. It's very complicated to make a reasonable forecast without the basic variables," said space scientist Mats André, of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. "Discovering this cold plasma is like saying, Oh gosh, there are oceans here that affect our weather," he said. (Related: "'Warm Plasma Cloak' Discovered Enveloping Earth.")

The Trick to Finding Cold Plasma.

Researchers already knew that some cold plasma existed in the ionosphere, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth's surface. But few researchers had looked for the clouds between 12,400 and 60,000 miles (20,000 and 100,000 kilometers) high. (Also see "Pictures: Giant Walls of Plasma Seen on Sun.") André and his colleague Chris Cully suspected the plasma could be out there, but they knew the positive charge of spacecraft wasn't helping any search efforts. Similar to the way cold plasma is created, sunlight strips electrons from spacecraft materials, making their hulls positively charged. Like two matching magnetic poles, a spacecraft would simply repulse any cold plasma around it.

To find the stuff, André and Cully instead analyzed anomalies in data from the European Space Agency's Cluster II spacecraft. This group of four satellites swings around Earth in a highly elliptical orbit. At the orbit's peak, the probes reach nearly halfway to the moon. The enormous distance gives researchers a chance to sweep through and monitor Earth's magnetic field and electrical activity, including the influence of "hot" charged particles emitted by the sun. Anomalies in the Cluster II data turned out to be shockwaves from cold plasma particles moving around the satellites.

Cold Plasma a Space Weather "Elephant".

In the end, the pair found that cold plasma makes up between 50 and 70 percent of all charged particles within the farther reaches of Earth's magnetic field. (Related: "Mini Magnetic Shield Found on the Moon.")

André says it's now time to start updating space-weather models to take the extra cold plasma into account—at this point, for instance, nothing is known about how the plasma might affect solar storms. This influence is "not a minor thing in space weather," André said. "It's an elephant in the room."
- National Geographic.

THE AGE OF OBAMA: Birthing the Global Totalitarian Police State and Targeting Your Brain - DARPA Plans to Read Users' Minds as a "Simple Solution" to Authentication!

Having contributed in large part to the Internet’s very existence, DARPA is now setting out to make its secure networks more secure. But rather than relying upon the conventional notion of a password--a complex string of letters and numerals that an individual must remember--the agency is looking to create a “cognitive fingerprint” for individuals that constantly authenticates that person for the duration of the time he or she has access to a network.

DARPA’s approach relies on biometrics, but not the usual brand of biometrics we’re used to seeing, like iris or fingerprint scans. DARPA wants to employ what it calls software-based biometrics--biometrics that don’t require any extra equipment and can be deployed on any computer via a software package--to recognize individual humans.

That means identifying humans not by a physical characteristic, but via a blend of mental or behavioral traits that are inherent in the way the person interacts with the terminal and the network. These things could include analysis of patterns in a person’s keystrokes, use of a computer’s built-in camera to track eye-movement patterns, semantic analysis that evaluates how a user searches and selects information (how you structure search queries, for instance, or what verbs and predicates you tend to use), the structure and syntax of a user’s sentences, the speed with which an individual tends to read content--the list goes on.

The idea is that the Active Authentication program, as the initiative is known, will replace passwords with a far stronger proof of identity--the user him- or herself. This overcomes some major shortcomings of the common password, not least of which being that passwords can be stolen and used by anyone. As long as the password fits, computers generally make no distinction between individuals using it. Passwords also generally authenticate entire sessions. If users are careless and don’t log out, anyone can pick up the session where the intended user left off, gaining access to secure information.

Active Authentication makes the user his or her own unique authentication key, meaning that his or her identity is verified constantly throughout the time he or she spends accessing a given network. DARPA wants to teach every computer in the DoD environment how to use this “cognitive fingerprint,” ensuring that regardless of where a user is logged in, the system knows--constantly--exactly who is who. - POPSCI.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Murmuration or Disaster Precursors - Swarm of Black Birds Invade La Grange, Kentucky; "Cloud" of Countless Birds Scare Residents in Oldham County!

Residents in a Kentucky town are saying "Get the flock out of here" to thousands of black birds that fill the sky each night.

At dusk, the birds take flight in La Grange, Ky., and create what some locals describe as a "cloud of birds," according to TV station WAVE. The birds nest down in a wooded area for the night and depart each morning in a huge pack, reports said. Fine-feathered friends, they're not. Residents complain that they're constantly cleaning up after the avian arrivistes, who started showing up last November in the community northeast of Louisville. Nearly everyone has heard their town compared to Alfred Hitchcock's classic film "The Birds." To protect themselves from bird poop, some people have begun carrying umbrellas, even on sunny days, CNN reports.

The birds' unexplained presence has allegedly coincided with a surge in respiratory ailments, according to one woman who spoke with WAVE. While nobody is sure why the birds migrated to La Grange, wildlife experts told CNN that the behavior of flying clockwise in large groups is called murmuration and is common among starlings. In an effort to scare off the unwelcome newcomers, a married couple blasts a noisy air canon. But the birds keep coming back. Earlier this month, hundreds of birds mysteriously died in Gilbertsville, Ky. -- about 200 miles away from La Grange. - Huffington Post.
WATCH: Birds Invade Kentucky.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Effects of Natural Disasters and Monumental Earth Changes - Obama Orders Strategy for Protecting Nation’s Supply Chain!

President Barack Obama is directing the Departments of State and Homeland Security to develop a plan to protect the $14.6 trillion U.S. economy from interruptions in the international supply chain.

The White House released today a National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security that gives officials from those departments six months to make recommendations on how to spot risks and make commercial infrastructure more resilient.

“Disruptions to supply chains caused by natural disasters -- earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions -- and from criminal and terrorist networks seeking to exploit the system or use it as a means of attack can adversely impact global economic growth and productivity,” Obama said in a letter dated Jan. 23 and released by the White House today.

“As a nation, we must address the challenges posed by these threats and strengthen our national and international policies accordingly,” he said in the letter.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 threatened or disrupted the U.S. oil and refining industry. The 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland led to flight cancellations on almost a global scale. The Japan earthquake and tsunami last year interrupted imports and exports and hurt the U.S. auto and other industries, costing jobs. - Business Week.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Landslides Everywhere - Telegraph Hill Rockslide Prompts Evacuation in San Francisco, Officials Declare Area "Unsafe"!

Some Telegraph Hill residents have been wondering when they can go home after a rockslide forced them to evacuate on Monday.

Engineers and geologists examined the San Francisco hillside Tuesday to see if it was safe to return and by evening, the director of public works reported that the hillside was still unstable and that more rocks would fall. He said they would remove the smaller rocks, but leave the big boulders because they help protect the building. Concrete K-rail barriers were being used to keep boulders secure and away from the apartment building there, but city engineers and geologists are also concerned with what is at the top of the hill. On Tuesday, inspectors examined both Lombard Street, which leads to Coit Tower, and a house that sits directly above the crumbling hillside. They found no cracks in the road and decided it and was safe. "They check for the stability of the road. Right now, they're checking for the stability of the roadway, the specifics of the rock formations and what kind of damage, if there was any kind of damage that was done from the incident yesterday," explained Gloria Chan with the Department of Public Works.

Heavy rain may have caused the slide which damaged a parked car. No one was hurt, but a few residents were evacuated. "A little bit of concern. I talked to a police officer yesterday and he was saying that they're going to stay around and watch, in case they have to evacuate the building if things got any worse," resident Madeline Koutnik said. Dawn Walker lives on the side closest to the hill and says she will stay in the building. "Yeah, we probably will unless it gets too noisy when they start removing the rocks and stuff," she said. "Yesterday, there were three units that were yellow-tagged. Today, based on this evaluation, the experts are going to regroup with some of the building inspectors and decide whether to continue the yellow tag or lift that yellow tag," Chan said. Residents that were evacuated Monday will be allowed back inside the building, but they will be advised against sleeping inside their units. Officials are still working on a plan to repair the hillside. - KGO.

City crews are keeping watch on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco after a chunk of it broke loose Monday morning, crushing a car in its path. The section that collapsed is almost directly below Coit Tower near Montgomery and Lombard streets. There's still a concern that the hillside could slide again, which is why the city has deemed three condo units unsafe, for now. Crews have since been working on installing some concrete barricades and some net fencing to prevent the rocks from slipping any further and possibly reaching the building. "If we have any further rock fall, we're hoping at least it won't get past here [the barricade] and any looser rock will not get through the safety net that we're going to put here," said Mohammed Nuru, interim director of the Department of Public Works. That's only a temporary solution until Tuesday when geotechnical engineers hope to determine the stability of the hillside. Until then, residents in three Parc Telegraph units that are closest to the slide, have been told to vacate. Around 9:30 a.m. several boulders came tumbling down the hillside and the force of the rocks crushed several steel posts, damaging the only car parked behind the apartment building, located at Montgomery and Lombard Streets. The rockslide came dangerously close to the building, but no one was hurt.

Dawn Walker, who lives on the sixth floor of the building, said she wasn't sure what happened at first. She said, "I didn't know it was a rock, I thought it was an earthquake." "My responsibility, I just want to get the people out of the building that would be affected if any more rocks came down," said Fire Batt. Chief Ed Gonzales. That's why the fire department ordered the evacuation of some of the lower units. Those residents who were at work at the time were not allowed to go back in. The Department of Public Works is the agency responsible for checking the integrity of the hillside. According to them, the heavy rains and saturation contributed to this slide. Win Bryson lives near the hillside. He's seen others smaller slides before. "Last year when we had a heavy rains, mostly late in the season, you'd get a fall, not as big as this one, though," said Bryson. Telegraph Hill is prone to these types of slides. Back in 2007, a number of homes above Broadway were red-tagged when a section of the hillside broke off. Crews have since drilled bolts and added netting to stabilize the hill. The city says that may also be the long-term remedy at the site of Monday's slide. Residents of the building seem to be taking all of this in stride. In fact, some find all of this attention amusing. This section of Telegraph Hill is the same spot where a burglar had been hiding out for more than 24 hours three weeks ago. "It's San Francisco. You get earthquakes, you get rain you know. You have burglars who jump over cliffs. It's just part of living in the city," John McCarthy, a building resident. - KGO.
WATCH: Telegraph Hill rockslide prompts partial evacuation.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL & UFO MEMES: Mysterious Object Found in the Baltic Sea - 197 Feet Diameter Cylinder, Ancient UFO Relics?!

On June 19th, 2011 the Swedish-based diving company Ocean Explorer discovered something they’ve never quite seen before. They were exploring in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland looking for sunken treasures when a very unusual image suddenly appeared on the sonar. 

A 197 feet diameter cylinder shaped object was discovered at the depth of approximately 275 feet.  Treasure hunters, Peter Lindberg, Dennis Aasberg are in the midst of planning for their next excursion; to find out what’s there, and how it ended up in the Baltic Sea. Ocean Explorer’s Operation Baltic Discovery will unveil what people around the world are waiting to find out- What’s really there?

“We need to know what we’ve found. Media has been speculating about everything from UFOs to Russian space ships. What we know at this point is its size and shape and we also know, based upon the sonar image, that there is a ridged tail going from or to the cylinder shaped anomaly of about 1 600 feet throughout the bottom of the sea,”said Peter Lindberg, one of the professionals at Ocean Explorer.

“We cannot tell when it was placed in the Baltic Sea, if the object was dumped into the sea or if it’s a natural phenomenon,” continues Mr.Lindberg.

Ocean Explorer is currently accepting in-kind donations and corporate sponsors to complete Operation Baltic Discovery. In addition, fans and supporters can purchase Ocean Explorer logotype T-shirts on the company’s website.

“We are determined to successfully complete our mission of finding out what’s at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Because of the sea depth, it is a risky operation that requires a lot of planning, strategy and financial resources,” said Dennis Aasberg, one of the three professionals at Ocean Explorer in Stockholm, Sweden. - Ocean Explorer.
WATCH: Object Found in the Baltic Sea.

WATCH: Strange anomaly was found during a sonar.

Videos from the excursion and the remarkable sonar image are available on

Ocean Explorer has been conducting various diving excursions in North Europe for over 20 years. Their main focus has been to search for hidden treasures such as antique high-end alcoholic beverages and historic artifacts. Some excursions include the salvaging of champagne bottles from the wreck Jönköping in 1997. The treasure hunters, Peter Lindberg, Dennis Aasberg have been in the maritime industry since 1995.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Mild Tremors in Parts of Andhra Pradesh - Triggers Panic in Eastern India! UPDATE: Delhi's High-Rises Vulnerable to Himalayan Quakes - Government Ignores Warnings!

Mild tremors in parts of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday triggered panic among people. There was no loss of life or damage to property.

People ran out of their houses in several parts of Krishna and Guntur districts in north coastal Andhra and Khammam district in Telangana region as the earth vibrated for few seconds.

People in some areas said they experienced tremors at least five times between 12.25pm and 12.30pm. Vessels and other house-hold items trembled and even fell on the ground, people said.

Fearing another earthquake, people were reluctant to return home and preferred to stay in open grounds.

Scientists at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) here described the tremors as seismic vibrations. The tremors were not recorded at the observatory. A scientist said only tremors of an intensity of above 2.8 on the Richter scale get recorded.

The NGRI scientists said there was no need for panic as such vibrations are a common occurrence. - Times of India.

Tall buildings in Delhi will come crashing down if a strong earthquake occurs in the northwest region of the Himalayas, warns a research seismologist who had predicted the Sumatran quake that caused the deadly tsunami in 2004.

UPDATE: Delhi's High-Rises Vulnerable to Himalayan Quakes - Government Ignores Warnings!

Buildings taller than 17 metres in the nation’s capital are vulnerable even though the city is more than 300 km away from the Uttarakhand-Himachal region where scientists expect the next high magnitude earthquake, Pune-based Arun Bapat told IANS. Bapat, formerly head of the earthquake engineering department at the Central Water and Power Research Station, says his warning is based on a careful analysis of damage caused by the 7.9 magnitude Gujarat earthquake that occurred Jan 26, 2001, with its epicentre near Bhuj. “Maximum destruction from an earthquake is normally confined to an area of 20 to 30 km radius from the epicentre,” Bapat told IANS. “However, in the case of the Bhuj quake, extensive damage was caused in Ahmedabad, which is about 320 km from Bhuj.” While tall buildings in Ahmedabad collapsed, the damage was minimal to buildings that had only two or three floors, he says. The “distance effect” – where the damage is felt far away from the epicentre — is characteristic of “Rayleigh waves” produced during an earthquake, explains Bapat.

He said there are about 100 tall buildings in the Delhi municipal area and an equal number in the nearby areas of Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, all of which need strengthening to protect against Rayleigh waves. Unlike the “P” and “S” waves that travel through the body of the earth and cause damage close to the epicentre, the Rayleigh waves roll along the surface of the earth just like waves on the ocean and cause damage at a distance — typically between 150 to 550 km from the epicentre, he says. The damage due to Rayleigh waves occur at a distance because the “amplitude” or strength of these waves is higher far away from the epicentre than closer to it, says Bapat. A situation similar to what happened in Ahmedabad during the Bhuj earthquake will be repeated in Delhi if an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or more occurs in Himachal or Uttarakhand, he says. “Rayleigh waves from such an earthquake would definitely cause heavy damage to tall structures in Delhi and the entire National Capital Region (NCR),” he told IANS.

According to Bapat, despite the Bhuj earthquake – that wreaked havoc in distant Ahmedabad — the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has not revised the seismic code for tall structures to take into account the likely effect of Rayleigh waves. The BIS code only provides guidelines for design and construction of buildings to protect them from the adverse effects of “S” waves but not Rayleigh waves, he said. According to Bapat, during the 8.1 magnitude Mexican earthquake on Sep 19, 1985, Mexico City suffered extensive damage although the epicentre of this earthquake was located at a distance of about 530 km on the Pacific coast. Again the 8.0 magnitude earthquake witnessed by Pakistan Oct 8, 2005, destroyed the tall buildings in Islamabad although the epicentre of this quake was about 150 km from the Pakistani capital. These examples from the recent past in addition to the experience of Delhi’s Qutab Minar during the powerful earthquake in the Himalayas Sep 1, 1803 — when two upper floors of the 72-metre tall structure were dislodged — are enough to give an idea of the “distance effect” on tall structures, Bapat said.

Mexico revised its seismic code after the 1985 earthquake damage and many countries including the United States, China and Japan have taken steps to protect the tall structures from possible damage due to Rayleigh waves, Bapat said. “But the BIS is yet to initiate any action about revision of the seismic code in India,” he said. “If no action is taken immediately, it is quite possible that the scenarios at Mexico City and Ahmedabad may be repeated in the NCR of Delhi.” Not only Delhi but all cities located at a vulnerable distance from potential epicentres of large magnitude earthquakes should make suitable provisions in the seismic codes, he said. Other vulnerable cities which could see damage to tall structures from large magnitude earthquakes in northeast India are Kolkata as well as Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh, says Bapat. “Lahore and Islamabad in Pakistan could suffer from large magnitude earthquakes in the Himalayas and Hindukush while Mumbai and Karachi could possibly suffer damage due to a tsunami produced by an earthquake in the Makran coast.” (IANS) - NVO News.

The ramshackle neighborhoods of northeast Delhi are home to 2.2 million people packed along narrow alleys. Buildings are made from a single layer of brick. Extra floors are added to dilapidated buildings not meant to handle their weight. Tangles of electrical cables hang precariously everywhere. If a major earthquake struck India's seismically vulnerable capital, these neighborhoods — India's most crowded — would collapse in an apocalyptic nightmare. Waters from the nearby Yamuna River would turn the water-soaked subsoil to jelly, which would intensify the shaking. The Indian government knows this and has done almost nothing about it. An Associated Press examination of government documents spanning five decades reveals a pattern of warnings and recommendations that have been widely disregarded. Successive governments made plans and promises to prepare for a major earthquake in the city of 16.7 million, only to abandon them each time. The Delhi government's own estimates say nine out of every 10 buildings in the city are at risk of moderate or significant quake damage, yet the basic disaster response plan it had promised to complete nearly three years ago remains unfinished, there are nearly no earthquake awareness drills in schools and offices and tens of thousands of housing units are built every year without any earthquake safety checks.

Fearing many buildings could lie in ruins after a quake, the Delhi government began work in 2005 with U.S. government assistance to reinforce just five buildings — including a school and a hospital — it would need to begin a rudimentary relief operation to deal with the dead, wounded and homeless. Six years later, only one of those buildings is earthquake-ready. "At the end of the day, people at the helm of affairs are not doing anything," said Anup Karanth, an earthquake engineering expert. In its attitudes to disaster preparedness India is like many other poor nations — aware of the danger but bogged down by both sheer inertia and more immediate demands on its resources. But Delhi faces immense earthquake risks. Last September, two minor jolts sent thousands of scared residents into the streets, and experts say a big one looms on the horizon. As far back as 1960, after a moderate quake cut power and plunged Delhi — then a city of 2.7 million — into darkness, the Geological Survey of India advised that all large buildings in the capital needed to have a plan for earthquake safety. A series of reports by other agencies have expanded on that conclusion in recent years, but both the city and national governments have ignored almost all of the recommendations.

Some reports were ignored because of sheer apathy, others because of shifting priorities. In a city and country growing at lightning speed with huge problems of poverty and hunger that need more immediate solutions, earthquake preparedness has simply never been at the top of the list. Some plans begun with good intentions simply fell by the wayside. That's what happened to the 2005 plan to prepare five important buildings in the capital for an earthquake. Government engineers were sent to California to train. But the following year — with only the school made earthquake ready — all the engineers were taken off the project. They were reassigned to build stadiums for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, an athletic competition held in Delhi, said M. Shashidhar Reddy, the vice chairman of India's National Disaster Management Agency. The scale of the problem "really hasn't sunk into the minds of the people," Reddy said. Just last year, a Delhi government agency ordered all new home buyers to get a building safety certificate that would mark their homes as structurally sound before registering property. But it later withdrew the order, saying there weren't enough engineers trained to conduct such inspections. "That's like saying let's not have any traffic rules because we don't have enough policemen," said Hari Kumar, who heads Geohazards India, an organization that promotes earthquake awareness.

India, a still developing country plagued by corruption, isn't alone in being unprepared. More than 80 percent of deaths from building collapses in earthquakes in the last three decades occurred in corrupt and poor countries, according to a 2011 study published in the science journal Nature. The study by Roger Bilham, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Nicholas Ambraseys, a civil and environmental engineer at Imperial College London, compared the loss of life in two magnitude 7.0 earthquakes in 2010. In Haiti, 300,000 died; in New Zealand none did, though a subsequent 6.1 quake there in early 2011 killed 182. New Zealand, a developed nation, tied for first as the least corrupt in Transparency International's most recent Corruption Perceptions Index. Much poorer Haiti came in 175th out of 178 countries. In Turkey, which ranked 61st, a 2010 report revealed that the earthquake-prone nation had failed to enforce stricter building codes put in place after a 1999 earthquake killed 18,000 people. Last year, two earthquakes of magnitude 7.2 and 5.7 flattened some 2,000 buildings, killed 644 people and left thousands homeless. In contrast, Japan, which was 14th on the corruption scale, requires that all structures meet a 1981 building code and offers subsidies to retrofit buildings to meet more stringent guidelines set in 1995. About 75 percent of homes and public buildings meet the newer standards.

In India, which ranked 95th, contractors routinely flout regulations, use substandard material and add illegal floors to buildings, while bribing government inspectors to look the other way, said Reddy, the disaster management official. A 2001 quake in the western state of Gujarat killed more than 13,000. Delhi, which sits near a highly seismically active area, is ranked four out of five on a seismic threat scale used in India. Geologists believe the Central Himalayan Gap, a 310-mile (500 kilometer) stretch between Nepal and India, is ripe for a major quake. A 6.8 quake along the fault in March 1999 damaged many buildings in Delhi, just 125 to 300 miles (200 to 500 kilometers) from the gap. Studies show such a large buildup of energy that a shifting of the tectonic plates could cause an 8.7-magnitude earthquake, Bilham said. Experts also fear the potential damage from a smaller quake closer to the capital. The city lies between two fault lines, and a 4.2 quake in September woke up residents, with many fleeing their buildings. The same month, a magnitude 6.8 quake in India's remote northeast was also felt in the capital. Either type of quake would cause moderate damage to an estimated 85.5 percent of Delhi's buildings and severe damage to another 6.5 percent, Delhi's disaster management authority said in a 2010 vulnerability assessment. It could also open cracks in the ground several centimeters wide and spread "fear and panic," the report said.

It was India's Department of Meteorology that found northeast Delhi particularly vulnerable in a never-released 2005 study obtained by the AP. That "microzone" study divided the city into nine segments to evaluate the possible impact of an earthquake in each. While the microzone study is a positive step, the report is only rudimentary and most builders haven't even heard of it, said earthquake engineering expert Karanth, who as a student lived through the Gujarat quake. India has developed national standards for constructing earthquake-resistant buildings, but they are not mandatory and widely ignored, said Kumar of Geohazards. Meanwhile, many residents don't realize the danger, or wrongly believe they are safe from it. When Karanth decided to buy an apartment in 2010, he picked a builder who promised to deliver an earthquake-resistant building. He visited the site often, took photographs of the construction and talked to the engineers in charge. Last year, he realized the project had none of the promised earthquake safety features. "This is not one or two apartments that I'm talking about. These are thousands of apartment units being constructed," he said. He complained and demanded an explanation. Instead, the construction company offered to give him back his deposit. - CBS News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Donegal Earthquake Rattles Ireland - Small Tremor Caused Widespread Alarm!

Residents living in Donegal in the Irish Republic were woken by a minor earthquake in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The epicentre of the quake is believed to be somewhere around the Knockalla Heights coast road.
The British Geological Survey (BGS) confirmed an earthquake registering 2.2 on the Richter scale was registered in Buncrana at 01:04 GMT. The earthquake's measured depth was 3km. It happened almost exactly two years to the day since a similar sized tremor was felt. The BGS said it was a very small reading in terms of world earthquakes but for Ireland, which does not see much of this activity, it is not surprising it has caused an amount of alarm. It received about nine calls with people claiming to have felt vibrations, whilst others compared it to thunder. Julian Bukits, assistant seismologist with the BGS, said window frames shook and some people were woken up.

"It happens naturally in the north of Ireland but not as often, say, as northern Scotland or the south of Wales," he said. "No one can really explain it for Ireland, it's just a geological phenomenon. Usually, with reports of this kind, people think it's a heavy lorry going past their home." The BGS has narrowed the epicentre of the quake down to a few hundred yards around the Knockalla Heights coast road, about five miles across Lough Swilly from Buncrana. People as far away as Letterkenny, Kilmacrennan and Ballybofey reported the rumblings, as well as more locally in Buncrana, Kerrykeel and Urris.
No damage has been reported. The last similar-sized earthquake in Ireland was a 2.6 in north Clare in May 2010. Mr Bukits said: "They are not very often and as far as earthquakes go, 2.2 is relatively insignificant." There have been eight minor earthquakes recorded in this region of Donegal. Director of the Irish National Seismic Network Tom Blake said Donegal has some significant fault lines "coming all the way from Scotland". He assured that the faults were far removed from any major boundaries and were a normal reaction to the seismicity there. "From time to time there is a little stress and strain that gets released and that is what we see as these minor tremors," he said. - BBC.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake Jolts Crete, Cyclades in Southern Greece - 48km Southwest of Santorini Volcano!

An earthquake measuring 5.3 magnitude on the Richter scale jolted the islands of Crete and Cyclades in the Aegean Sea in southern Greece on Thursday, without reported casualties.

According to the Geodynamic Institute of Athens, the epicentre of the quake was traced 48 km southwest of Santorini at a depth of 30 km, Greek scientists said.

Local authorities have reported no injuries or major material damage.

Initially the EuroMediterannean Seismic Institute had estimated a moderate tremor measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale tracing the epicentre at 78 km northwest of the city of Herakleion in Crete.

The tremor was felt in a major part of the Aegean Sea, including Crete, Santorini, Cyclades, Rhodes and eastern Peloponnese.

In comments in local media, Athens University Geology School Professor Efthymios Lekkas reassured that there was no reason for anxiety over the quake.

Greece is regularly hit by moderate earthquakes throughout the year. The earthquake-prone country has been hit by devastating tremors many times in recent history, more than any other European country.

In the latest big one in 1999, a powerful quake measuring 6 degrees on the Richter scale caused many deaths and extensive damage in Athens. - CRI English.