Monday, March 17, 2014

MASS ANIMAL/BIRD/FISH DIE-OFF: The Latest Incidents Across The Earth - Over 30 Dolphins Found Dead After Stranding In Newfoundland, Canada; Thousands Of Dead Ducks Appearing All Around The Great Lakes In North America; And Virus Kills FOUR MILLION Pigs Since Last Year Across 27 American States!

March 17, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest incidents of mass fish, bird and animal die-offs across the Earth:

Over 30 Dolphins Found Dead After Stranding In Newfoundland, Canada.
Bert Osmond Photo (Facebook)


Most of a pod of white-beaked dolphins have already succumbed after becoming trapped by ice off the southwest coast. The pod of about 30 to 40 dophins became encircled by ice near Cape Ray on the weekend and were driven close to the shoreline. The animals' plight has caught the attention of local residents, but officials say there's little that can be done because of the dangerous weather and ice conditions.

As of this morning just three animals were left alive, and they were in bad shape. Wayne Ledwell of the Whale Release and Strandings Group says human safety is paramount when considering whether or not to save the animals. He says conditions in the area are so bad, people would be risking their lives to try to intervene.

Ledwell says white-beaked dolphins are one of a couple of species that stay in Newfoundland waters year-round, and ice strandings are not uncommon. He says in many cases the animals usually die, but he can remember saving some animals in an area where it was safe to do so, and transporting them to open water via snowmobile.


Bert Osmond Photo (Facebook)

Bert Osmond Photo (Facebook)

Bert Osmond Photo (Facebook)

Bert Osmond Photo (Facebook)


Local resident Bert Osmond first noticed the stranded mammals yesterday, he says as very little open water remains near the shore there is little chance they will survive.

The water in the area is very shallow, less than a metre, so it's impossible to get an icebreaker in the bay. Osmond says it was heartbreaking to hear the noises the dolphins were making.

DFO says back in 1987, six blue whales were driven ashore by ice in the same area near Cape Ray. They call the unique geography and currents in the area a natural 'whale trap' during heavy ice conditions.

WARNING: This video contains graphic images and may not be suitable for all viewers.

WATCH: Trapped dolphins in Cape Ray.

 

- VOCM.



Thousands Of Dead Ducks Appearing All Around The Great Lakes In North America.
File photo of ducks on the ice. Getty Images

The Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is renowned as a spectacular winter haven for hundreds of thousands of water birds. But this year’s bitterly cold season has made it notable for something else: dead ducks.

Biologists say carcasses began piling up by the hundreds in early January after the plunging temperatures started icing over nearly the entire Great Lakes, preventing the ducks from getting to the minnows that are their main source of food. Necropsies on dozens of birds have confirmed the cause: starvation.

“All have empty stomachs. They’re half the weight they should be,” said Connie Adams, a biologist in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Buffalo office who has personally seen 950 dead birds.

“This is unprecedented. Biologists who’ve worked here for 35 years have never seen anything like this,” she said. “We’ve seen a decline in tens of thousands in our weekly waterfowl counts.”

It’s a phenomenon that has been seen elsewhere along the Great Lakes, with news reports of diving ducks and other waterfowl turning up dead by the hundreds along the southern part of Lake Michigan. They’ve also been found in Lake St. Clair between Lakes Erie and Huron.

“It’s a hard winter for ducks, like everything else,” said Russ Mason, wildlife director with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Necropsies and toxicity analyses showed many of the Michigan ducks were subsisting on invasive zebra mussels, which caused the birds to have potentially toxic levels of selenium in their bodies, Mason said. Zebra mussels filter toxins from the water and pass them up the food chain.

Most of the dead ducks seen in the upstate New York are red-breasted mergansers, which breed in northern Canada and Alaska and come south for the winter to the Great Lakes region. In most years, there are periods of freezing and thawing, providing enough breaks in the ice for them to dive for minnows.

But this winter, it’s been so bitterly cold for so long that the ice had pushed across 92.2 per cent of the Great Lakes’ surface area earlier this month, according to federal monitors, just short of the record 94.7 per cent set in 1979.

Biologists say the Niagara River also has ice extending up to 100 yards off shore, creating a shelf where minnows and shiners can hide.

There is evidence some waterfowl gave up and tried to fly farther south but were too weak to do so. Dead birds have been seen along shorelines, on docks and on the ice, their carcasses feasted upon by gulls and bald eagles.

Two weeks ago, Adams said, there were 240,000 water birds in her area’s weekly count. Last week, there were 43,000. It’s unknown how many birds – which also included such species as scaup, canvasbacks and grebes – migrated elsewhere and how many died.

At the DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit near Albany, biologist Joe Okoniewski has refrigerators stuffed with bags of red-breasted mergansers sent by wildlife biologists on Lakes Erie and Ontario. The diving ducks are black and white with a rusty speckled breast, orange bill and an iridescent green head with a shaggy crest on the back.

“The skin is stuck tight to the body wall because there’s no layer of fat underneath,” Okoniewski said, running a scalpel along the breastbone of a dead merganser. The gizzard and intestine were empty, except for a few normal parasites.

“I’ve seen a couple with stomachs full of feathers and feathers all the way down through their intestines,” Okoniewski said. “They’re desperate for anything to eat. It’s really sad.”

Unlike mallard or black ducks, mergansers won’t eat bread or other food people may offer. They only eat live fish.

While the bird deaths are a natural event that can be documented but not changed, wildlife rehabilitators are trying to save birds that people find near death in snowbanks and parking lots.

“We’ve had over 160 since the beginning of January,” said Dawn Mazierski, a wildlife technician at the Erie County SPCA in Tonawanda. “We have to tube-feed them a liquid diet three to four times a day until they’re strong enough to eat on their own.”

The birds, which spend all their time on water, can hardly walk, and often their natural waterproofing is damaged by dirt or road salt so they can’t swim either. “They soak up water like a sponge and sink,” Mazierski said.

So the birds rest in a quiet room on net hammocks called loon beds, preening their feathers back to condition. When they’re ready, they go into tubs of water stocked with minnows donated by bait shops.

“A merganser can eat 200 to 250 fish per day,” Mazierski said. “We go through thousands of fish a day.”

After anywhere from three days to a couple of weeks, the birds are ready for release.

“Once their weight has increased and they’re real spunky, and we have a decent weather day, we take them back out,” Mazierski said. “And we hope they’ll find enough food to bulk up for their flight north in spring.” - Global News.



Virus Kills FOUR MILLION Pigs Since Last Year Across 27 American States.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED virus or PEDV) is a coronavirus that infects the cells lining the small intestine of a pig, causing
porcine epidemic diarrhoea, a condition of severe diarrhea and dehydration. Older hogs mostly get sick and lose weight after being
infected, whereas newborn piglets usually die within five days of contracting the virus. Coronaviruses are a group of
viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under an electron microscope.

Arizona is the latest state to confirm cases of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious pig disease, increasing the tally of U.S. states with confirmed cases to 27, a group of animal health researchers said.

Virginia has reported positive samples of the virus in the environment, but not yet in a hog herd, according to data released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

Confirmed cases of PEDv increased by 274 in the week ending March 8, bringing the total number to 4,458 in 27 states.

While one case can represent an individual animal or an entire herd at a single site, hog industry analysts estimate PEDv has killed between 4 million and 5 million U.S. hogs since it was discovered in May 2013.

PEDv, which does not affect humans and is not a food safety risk, causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs. While older pigs have a chance of survival, 80 to 100 percent of piglets that contract it die.

"Anytime we have a disease that cuts numbers, it cuts Checkoff income," said John Parker, spokesman for the Virginia Pork Council, referring to The Pork Checkoff which funds research, including disease research, and programs to promote the U.S. pork industry. Pork producers invest 40 cents for every $100 of hogs sold to fund the Checkoff which is governed by the National Pork Board.

"And it is the worst timing in the world because you need to promote biosecurity on farms to keep the disease from spreading," Parker added.

Senators from North Carolina and Michigan, two of the states with reported cases of PEDv, on Thursday urged the USDA to approve disaster assistance for small pork producers affected by a deadly virus that has killed more than four million pigs across the United States in the past year.

North Carolina is the second biggest hog producer in the U.S., behind top state Iowa, which is also affected by the virus.

Pork processors are finding it more difficult to purchase hogs for slaughter due to the virus which was first reported in May last year and is starting to affect the pork supply and could eventually boost pork prices for consumers, industry sources said. - Reuters.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Magmatic Intrusion Continues At The El Hierro Volcano In The Canary Islands - New Pulse Of Volcanic Tremor Near La Restinga!

March 17, 2014 - EL HIERRO, THE CANARY ISLANDS - What looks like a new swarm of earthquakes accompanied by strong harmonic tremor appeared on the southernmost seismic station at La Restinga.


Current seismic signal at CRST station in La Restinga (IGN)


If it is not due to some local, human-induced work or malfunction, it suggests that the quakes are very shallow, since they don't appear on the signals of other stations.

Whatever is happening there will probably become clearer soon.


Current seismic spectrum and tremor amplitude (CRST station)

Depth vs time of earthquakes at El Hierro volcano during the past 30 days.

The latest earthquake swarm in the NE part of the island had more or less stopped during the past 24 hours.

Some GPS stations showed 2-4 cm uplift during the weekend, which supports the idea of a new deep magma intrusion. - Volcano Discovery.



MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: "Some Truly Gargantuan Cliffs,... These Things Are Really, Really Big,..." - NASA Photos Reveal That Planet Mercury Is SHRINKING, Even More Than Was Previously Thought; Losing More Than FOUR MILES OF ELEVATION In Some Parts!

March 17, 2014 - PLANET MERCURY - The planet Mercury is the solar system's shrunken head.


Mercury's surface is replete with cliff-like fault scarps. Here, one such scarp, Fram Rupes (image center), lies near the
terminator (the divide between day and night). The Fram Rupes scarp is almost 1.5 kilometers high.
(NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab/Carnegie Institution of Washington)


The scorched first rock from the sun has contracted into itself even more than previously thought -- losing more than 4 miles of elevation in some parts, according to new research using data from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft.

"It solves a mystery that's been lingering for a while," commented planetary scientist William McKinnon of Washington University in Saint Louis. "Mariner 10 (in the 1970s) first saw these giant cliffs. So we knew it was shrinking." But it didn't appear to have shrunk enough.

The researchers knew the small planet was shrinking because Mercury was conforming to a theory of mountain building that was first applied (incorrectly) to our own planet about 200 years ago. In that theory, the Earth's mountains were thought to be a lot like the wrinkles that form on an apple's skin when it dries out and shrinks. But the idea just didn't fit the geology of Earth particularly well. Now a modern theory -- plate tectonics -- explains our planet's features far more accurately.

Mercury, on the other hand, has only one solid shell for a crust, rather than Earth's many plates that shift about. As Mercury's molten iron core has cooled over the billions of years since the planet formed, it has contracted and the shell of rock surrounding it has cracked and shifted to accommodate the smaller size. Today, the signs of those changes are written all over the face of Mercury.

"Some of these things are really, really big," said Paul Byrne of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. "There are some truly gargantuan cliffs on Mercury." Bryne is the lead author of a paper presenting the results in the March 16 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

The greater shrinkage corresponds to a model of the planet with a much larger iron core, said McKinnon.

"It's really a giant iron planet" with a thin rock crust, McKinnon said.

As for when all this shrinking happened, that's harder to figure out, said Byrne. Craters now seen on Mercury correspond to what scientists call the Late Heavy Bombardment -- a violent time in the history of the solar system that ended about 3.8 billion years ago. Any shrinkage features that happened before that were likely wiped out by asteroid impacts during that time.

"So Mercury surface has taken a beating," said Byrne. "It's possible that Mercury started contracting before that but we don't expect to see it."

But there are signs that some shrinking happened later. One example is a giant cliff face at what's called Carnegie Rupes that runs right through a large crater. It implies that the cliff came first, was smashed by an asteroid impact, and then the cliff continued to grow after the impact.

"We don't know if it's slowly slipping or Mercury-quakes," said Bryne. But it does feed into the idea that Mercury's shrinking has been going on a long time. - FOX News.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Earthquake Fear Grips Los Angeles - 4.4 Tremor Could Be A "Foreshock" For A Mega-Quake; Expert Says Quake Location Is "Surprising,... Been Dormant For Thousands Of Years,..."?!

March 17, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - The magnitude 4.4 earthquake that struck near Westwood is the most significant shake in Southern California since a 5.5 earthquake hit Chino Hills in 2008, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist told reporters at a news conference Monday morning.




Robert Graves said there have been at least six aftershocks since the 6:25 a.m. earthquake. The largest so far has been a magnitude 2.7 earthquake that struck five miles northwest of Westwood.

Graves said there is always the small possibility that the 4.4 earthquake was only a prelude to an equal or stronger shake.


WATCH: Los Angeles wakes up to 4.4 magnitude earthquake.




“Always the possibility that it’s a foreshock,” Graves said, adding that about 5% of earthquakes are followed by an equal or larger shake and that if it does happen, it would occur within the next several hours.
But Graves did say that “certainly we would expect more aftershocks.”

Seismologists at the USGS have not yet determined exactly what fault this earthquake was on and Graves also said “we’re continuing to analyze the data, but at this point, this seems to be what I would call a rather typical earthquake.”


WATCH: Southern California residents react to 4.4 magnitude earthquake.




Monday's earthquake hit in the northern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains area, a general area responsible for the uplifting of the range over many thousands of years.

“The location is somewhat surprising. It’s within the Santa Monica Mountains. We have not seen seismicity in it in recent times,” said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson. “It has been dormant for quite some time.”


WATCH: Earthquake rattles Southern California residents.




In contrast, there are well known faults to the south of the Santa Monica mountains: the Hollywood and Santa Monica faults roughly along Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards.

Graves said people reported feeling it within about 30 to 50 miles of the epicenter, Graves said. - LA Times.


SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: The Big Bang Theory - Astrophysicists Release A Most Monumental Discovery Confirming Cosmic Inflation; Gravitational Waves From The Birth Of The Universe; "The Most Important Discovery Since The Discovery"!

March 17, 2014 - SPACE - Astronomers have discovered what they believe is the first direct evidence of the astonishing expansion of the universe in the instant following the Big Bang -- the scientific explanation for the birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago.


Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.

"Everything we see today - the galaxies, the stars, the planets - was imprinted at that moment"

Scientists believe that the universe exploded from a tiny speck and hurled itself out in all directions in the fraction of a second that followed, beginning just 10 to the minus 35 seconds (roughly one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second) after the universe's birth. Matter ultimately coalesced hundreds of millions of years later into planets, stars, and ultimately us.

And like ripples from a ball kicked into a pond, that Big Bang-fueled expansion caused ripples in the ancient light from that event, light which remains imprinted in the skies in a leftover glow called the cosmic microwave background.


WATCH: Big Bang Gravitational Waves Discovered.




Scientists still don’t know who kicked the ball.

But if confirmed, the newfound ripples would be amazing proof of what has long been mere theory about what happened in those first millionths of a second.

“The implications for this detection stagger the mind,” said Jamie Bock, professor of physics at Caltech, laboratory senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and project co-leader. “We are measuring a signal that comes from the dawn of time.”


This NASA graphic shows the universe as it evolved from the big bang to now. Goddard scientists believe that the
universe expanded from subatomic scales to the astronomical in a fraction of a second after its birth. (NASA/WMAP)

Gravitational waves from inflation generate a faint but distinctive twisting pattern in the polarization of the cosmic
microwave background, known as a "curl" or B-mode pattern. For the density fluctuations that generate most of the
polarization of the CMB, this part of the primordial pattern is exactly zero. Shown here is the actual B-mode pattern
observed with the BICEP2 telescope, which is consistent with the pattern predicted for primordial gravitational waves.
The line segments show the polarization strength and orientation at different spots on the sky. The red and blue shading
shows the degree of clockwise and anti-clockwise twisting of this B-mode pattern. (BICEP2 Collaboration)

"It would be the most important discovery since the discovery, I think, that the expansion of the universe is accelerating," Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who is not a member of the study team, told Space.com. He compared the finding to a 1998 observation that opened the window on mysterious dark energy and won three researchers the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.

The groundbreaking results came from observations by BICEP2, a telescope at the South Pole, of the cosmic microwave background -- a faint glow left over from the Big Bang.

Beginning a fraction of a fraction of a second after the universe's birth, according to the current theory, space-time expanded incredibly rapidly, ballooning outward faster than the speed of light. The afterglow from that expansion is called the cosmic microwave background, and tiny fluctuations in it provide clues to conditions in the early universe.


The tiny temperature fluctuations of the cosmic microwave background (shown here as color) trace primordial density
fluctuations in the early universe that seeded the later growth of galaxies. These fluctuations produce a pattern of
polarization in the CMB that has no twisting to it. Gravitational waves from inflation are expected to produce much
a fainter pattern that includes twisting ("B-mode") polarization, consistent with the pattern observed by BICEP2,
which is shown here as black lines. The line segments show the polarization strength and orientation
at different spots on the sky. (BICEP2 Collaboration)

The sun sets behind BICEP2 (in the foreground) and the South Pole Telescope (in the background).
(Steffen Richter (Harvard University))

For example, small differences in temperature across the sky show where parts of the universe were denser, eventually condensing into galaxies and galactic clusters.

Since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. On Earth, sunlight is scattered by the atmosphere and becomes polarized, which is why polarized sunglasses help reduce glare. In space, the cosmic microwave background was scattered by atoms and electrons and became polarized too.

“Our team hunted for a special type of polarization called ‘B-modes,’ which represents a twisting or ‘curl’ pattern in the polarized orientations of the ancient light,” said Bock.

The team presented their work at a press conference Monda at Harvard -- the discovery of that characteristic pattern of polarization in the skies, which they called proof of the gravitational waves across the primordial sky.

“This work offers new insights into some of our most basic questions: Why do we exist? How did the universe begin? These results are not only a smoking gun for inflation, they also tell us when inflation took place and how powerful the process was,” Harvard theorist Avi Loeb said. - FOX News.


WORLD WAR III & GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The Ukrainian Fallout - Putin Signs Order To Recognize Crimea As A Sovereign And Independent State; Russia May Force Ukraine Into Default, By Asking For Its $20 Billion Share For Ex-Soviet Debt!

March 17, 2014 - RUSSIA - President Vladimir Putin has signed an order that Russia recognizes Crimea as a sovereign and independent state. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea held a referendum on Sunday with over 96% voting for integration into Russia.


Russia's President Vladimir Putin (Reuters / Michael Klimentyev)


“According to the will of the peoples of the Crimea on the all-Crimean referendum held on March 16, 2014, [I order] to recognize the Republic of Crimea, in which the city of Sevastopol has a special status, as a sovereign and independent state,” the document reads.

The order comes into force immediately.

Crimea was declared an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea, on Monday, the autonomous Ukrainian regional parliament's website stated.

Crimea also addressed the UN seeking recognition as a sovereign state.

"The Republic of Crimea intends to build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, mutual neighborly cooperation, and other generally agreed principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between states," the parliament said.


WATCH: Mutually Assured Destruction - The EU, US sanctions backfire threat (ft. Patrick Young)?

 


The Crimean parliament also unanimously voted to integrate the region into Russia.

The parliament's resolution comes after Sunday's referendum which resulted in over 96 percent of voters answering ‘yes’ to the autonomous republic joining Russia. The overall voter turnout in the referendum was 81.37%, according to the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev.

He also stressed that there were no complaints concerning the voting process. Those international observers who came to Crimea made an official statement on Monday that the vote was free and conformed to international standards.


WATCH: Putin signs decree recognizing Crimea as sovereign state.

 


The international reaction to the Crimea’s referendum and its resolution was the implementation of sanctions. On Monday the EU and US slapped visa bans and financial restrictions against Russian and Ukrainian officials.

The White House stated that "the actions and policies" of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine "undermine democratic processes” and “threaten its peace,” sanctioning 11 officials. While the EU late on Monday introduced a list of 21 Russian and Crimean political figures that will be sanctioned for 6 months. - RT.



Russia May Force Ukraine Into Default, By Asking For Its $20 Billion Share For Ex-Soviet Debt
Rook to G7, check.
  • KYIV DEEMS THE ISSUE OF SOVIET-ERA DEBTS UNSETTLED, MOSCOW RESERVES THE RIGHT TO INSIST THAT UKRAINE REPAY $20 BILLION TO RUSSIA - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
  • RUSSIA MAY ASK UKRAINE TO PAY ITS $20B SHARE FOR EX-SOVIET DEBT
Pidgeon playing checkers response time.

This should come as no surprise as we warned of at least $3b in bonds that are due very soon...
the Ukraine owes $3 billion to Russia in bonds that have been issued under UK law. One of the stipulations of the bonds is that if the Ukraine's debt-to-GDP ratio should exceed 60%, the bonds will become immediately callable.

Once the Ukraine gets funding from the IMF, this is of course going to happen right away – its debt-to-GDP ratio will then most definitely exceed 60%, so the first $3 billion of any aid the Ukraine receives in the form of loans will right away flow into Russia's coffers.


Of course there may be litigation first, but as Greek bondholders have found out, all those who held bonds issued under UK law were actually paid in full, while everybody else had to accept the 'PSI' and could basically go pound sand.
- Zero Hedge.


THE AGE OF PUTIN & THE RISE OF A NEW MOTHERLAND: The Far East Bonanza - United Nations Confirm That Resource-Rich Sea Of Okhotsk Is ALL RUSSIAN; 52,000 Square Kilometers; The Size Of Switzerland; Opens Way For Massive Oil And Gas Exploration!

March 17, 2014 - SEA OF OKHOTSK -  A UN maritime commission has confirmed that 52,000 square kilometers in the middle of the Sea of Okhotsk in the Far East is now Russian continental shelf, opening the way for massive oil and gas exploration.






The enclave in the middle of the Okhotsk Sea has been recognized as part of Russia’s continental shelf in accordance with the UN Maritime Convention of 1982. So far the zone lay outside Russian jurisdiction because a part of the sea was not covered by the 200 nautical mile zone internationally recognized as area of exclusive economic interest.

“This event has effectively taken place,” Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy told journalists, stressing that the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf had made a “unanimous decision" which is "unconditional and has no retroactive effect.”

The minister said that from now on Russian laws are applied to all natural resources under the Okhotsk seabed. The new enclave that has been integrated into Russia is comparable to a territory of a European state like Switzerland, Netherlands or Slovakia.

The original application for the Okhotsk shelf was filed to the UN in 2001.

In November 2013, when the UN agreed with arguments presented by Russia that 52,000 square kilometers of the Sea of Okhotsk, which borders Japan, is part of the country’s continental shelf, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry described the enclave as a “real Ali Baba’s cave” since it has “plentiful precious minerals and natural resources.”


RIA Novosti/Sergey Krivosheyev

The 1.6 million square kilometers of the Okhotsk Sea have been poorly explored so far, so the area holds tremendous potential.

Up to 40 percent of the newly integrated maritime territory could hold natural resources, Russia 24 TV channel cited Geology and Geophysics expert Vladimir Glotov as saying.

Seabed oil deposits situated next to the Russian port of Magadan in the Sea of Okhotsk could reach up to 3 billion barrels of hydrocarbons. The first research work on the prospective Magadan-2 and Magadan-3 offshore blocks were held last summer. The research data is now being processed in E&P laboratories.

The Sea of Okhotsk has traditionally been known for its offshore fishing. The sea is rich in various kinds of fish, shellfish and crabs. before the UN ruling, Russian fishermen did not have the right to fish the whole sea.

In the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, poachers from various countries, particularly from Asia, used the loophole that the Sea of Okhotsk is not Russia’s internal sea to claim fishing rights in the area. Moscow had to distribute fishing quotas to prevent over-fishing of the sea.




From now on, Russian fisherman will be able to increase fishing volumes, because now they have the exclusive right to work in the middle of the sea, an area previously used predominantly by foreign fishing vessels.

Possession of the Sea of Okhotsk also puts the onus on Russian to protect the maritime environment and biodiversity of the sea, which includes orcas and whales, rare fish and shellfish species.

According to Donskoy, the UN decision is also “the first step in our Arctic applications, which will be ready in the near future.”

Russia’s Arctic claims include the huge seabed area of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Dome, which reach out into the floor of the Arctic Ocean as part of Russia’s continental shelf. Other countries that have claims on the Arctic seabed include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States. - RT.



WORLD WAR III: It Begins - President Obama And The European Union Sets World On A Path To War By Imposing Strong Sanctions Against Russia; As Crimea Declares Independence, Moves To Integrate Financially With Russia, And Seeks UN Recognition!

March 17, 2014 - CRIMEA, RUSSIA - In a strong coordinated effort, that will surely push the world into a global thermonuclear war, United States President and the European Union imposed sanctions against Russia, after Crimea's vote to secede from Ukraine.

President Obama And The European Union Impose Sanctions Against Russia


US President Barack Obama has ordered that sanctions be applied against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials, the White House said. Earlier, the EU imposed sanctions against 21 officials after Crimea declared its independence.

The US has imposed sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian officials on Monday, with the White House stating that "the actions and policies" of the Russian government with respect to Ukraine "undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."

Obama’s executive order applies to seven top Russian officials, including presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential adviser Sergey Glazyev, State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky, member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament (the Federation Council) Andrey Klishas, head of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Valentina Matvienko, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and State Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina.

In addition, the US Treasury has imposed sanctions on four Ukrainian individuals “for their actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine and in undermining the Government of Ukraine” including the ousted President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich, Crimean top officials Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov, and former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk.

Obama's order states that it came into effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 17, 2014.

The US announcement came shortly after the European Union applied travel bans and asset freezes on Monday against 21 people from Russia and Ukraine, who it believes were linked to the secession of Crimea from Ukraine.

The EU list reportedly includes 13 Russians and eight people from Crimea, and singles out political figures.

The sanctions are due to be expanded when EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linan Linkevicius.


Crimea Declares Independence And Seeks United Nations Recognition
Pro-Russian Crimeans celebrate in Sevastopol on March 16, 2014 after partial votes showed that about 95.5 percent of
voters in Ukraine's Crimea region supported union with Russia.(AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)

The Republic of Crimea has addressed the UN seeking recognition as a sovereign state and called on Russia to integrate it into the Russian Federation. 96.77 percent of the Crimean population voted ‘for’ the integration in a referendum.

"The Republic of Crimea intends to build its relations with other states on the basis of equality, peace, mutual neighborly cooperation, and other generally agreed principles of political, economic and cultural cooperation between states," the legislation says.

Crimea was declared an independent sovereign state, the Republic of Crimea, on Monday, the autonomous Ukrainian regional parliament's website stated. The Supreme Council of Crimea unanimously voted to integrate of the region into Russia.

Ukrainian military units on Crimean territory are to be disbanded, with the military personnel allowed to stay and live on the peninsula, Interfax reported Crimean Supreme Council chairman Vladimir Konstantinov as saying.

“Those who, according to their beliefs, don't accept the Crimean independence and stay true to the Ukrainian state won't be persecuted," the head of Crimea's parliament Vladimir Konstantinov said, as quoted by ITAR-TASS. He added that the same principle will apply to government employees and security workers who took the oath of allegiance to Ukraine.

His comments came after more than 500 troops left Sevastopol to register at temporary checkpoints.


Pro-Russian Crimeans celebrate in Sevastopol on March 16, 2014 after partial showed that about 95.5 percent
of voters in Ukraine's Crimea region supported union with Russia.(AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)

 The Crimean Parliament also ruled that Ukrainian state property in the peninsula will become the property of the Republic of Crimea, Kryminform news agency reported.

The Crimean Parliament will remain the supreme legislative body of the republic until September 2015, or until a decision is made to integrate Crimea into the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s coup-imposed President Aleksandr Turchinov called the referendum “a great farce,” saying it will never be recognized either by Ukraine or by the civilized world," AFP reported.


Final figures of Crimea vote: 1,2 million (97%) for joining Russia, 32 thousand (2,5%) for staying with Ukraine

It's after the announcement of the official results: 96.77 percent of the Crimean population has voted ‘for’ integration of the region into the Russian Federation. The turnout was 83.1 per cent.

The referendum saw a massive turnout, with 81.3 percent of the eligible voting population participating, the head of the Crimean parliament’s commission on the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev, said.


 WATCH:  'We're coming home!' Crimea celebrates after 97% vote for joining Russia.

 


There were 1,233,002 votes ‘for’ integration, with the total number of those who voted standing at 1,274,096 people.

The referendum commission has not received any complaints, Malyshev stressed.


Screenshot from twitter.com user ‏@Vasilevskaya_RT

On Sunday evening, in Simferopol, the capital of the republic, at least 15,000 people have gathered to celebrate the referendum’s results in the central Lenin square, waving Russian and Crimean flags.

 Next week, Crimea will officially introduce the ruble as a second official currency along with Ukrainian hryvna, Crimea's Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov told Interfax. The dual currency is to be established in about six months.

Overall, the republic’s integration into Russia will take up to a year, the premier said. However, it wants to maintain relations with “economic entities, including Ukraine,” rather than burn bridges. - RT.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Shallow 4.7 Earthquake Rattles Southern California - Strong Shaking Throughout The Region! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]

March 17, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A shallow, magnitude-4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:25 a.m. PDT at a depth of 5.0 miles.


USGS earthquake location map.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity map.

The quake was felt over a large area of Southern California. Metro said there might be some delays due to the temblor.

Strong shaking was reported throughout the region, including the San Fernando Valley, Ventura County, Huntington Beach and other Westside areas. According to the USGS "Did You Feel It" service, people reported feeling shaking as far east as Perris and as far south as San Clemente.

The USGS downgraded the quake to a 4.4 magntude.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department said there were no immediate reports of any damage or injuries. A spokeswoman from the Los Angeles Police Department also had no reports of damage. The LAFD said it is in "earthquake emergency mode as crews survey the city by ground and air.


USGS earthquake uncertainty ratio map.

USGS earthquake population exposure map.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, seven miles from Universal City and seven miles from Santa Monica.

In the past 10 days, there have been no earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said there were no reports of any immediate problems on the freeways because of the earthquake. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and County Fire Department also said there were no reports of immediate damage.

“We did our initial survey and it was felt only. No reports of any damage,” said County Fire Supervisor Michael Pittman.

Stacey Dirks, the 25-year-old assistant manager at Noah’s New York Bagels in Westwood, was at work at the time and said “it just felt like a sudden shake, it was just like rapid and quick.”

No bagels fell off the shelves and “everything stayed in place” Dirks said.

Joe Ramallo of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said that as of 6:45 a.m. there were no reports of water main breaks or power outages immediately following the earthquake. But he said crews are conducting routine safety checks after the quake to ensure their durability.


USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

Quakes of this magnitude have most often been out in the Pacific Ocean in recent months. Most quakes to hit Los Angeles in the last few months have been further east or further west. Many of the quakes have been centered along the coast, south toward Corona, or east towards Palm Springs.

In February for example another quake was five miles north of Bloomington and five miles west of Muscoy. It hit north of Perris and south of Adelanto. It started east of Los Angeles, west of Yucca Valley and west of Palm Springs.

SOURCES: NBC Los Angeles | LA Late | LA Times.



WORLD WAR III & GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The Ukrainian Fallout - State TV Says Russia Could Turn U.S. To "Radioactive Ash;" Russia Vows To Switch To Other Currencies Over Sanctions Threat; And George Soros Predicts Ukraine Could Ruin The EU!

March 17, 2014 - GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS - A leading anchor on Russian state television on Sunday described Russia as the only country capable of turning the United States into "radioactive ash", in an incendiary comment at the height of tensions over the Crimea referendum.


State TV Says Russia Could Turn United States To "Radioactive Ash"


"Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash," anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly news show on state-controlled Rossiya 1 television.

Kiselyov made the comment to support his argument that the United States and President Barack Obama were living in fear of Russia led by President Vladimir Putin amid the Ukraine crisis.

His programme was broadcast as the first exit polls were being published showing an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voting to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

He stood in his studio in front of a gigantic image of a mushroom cloud produced after a nuclear attack, with the words "into radioactive ash".

"Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama," he added, pointing to opinion polls which then popped up on the screen.

"Why is Obama phoning Putin all the time and talking to him for hours on end?" he asked.

Kiselyov has earned a reputation as one of Russia's most provocative television news hosts, in particularly with his often blatantly homophobic remarks.

But he is also hugely influential with his weekly news show broadcast at Sunday evening prime time.

Putin last year appointed Kiselyov head of the new Russia Today news agency that is to replace the soon to be liquidated RIA Novosti news agency with the aim of better promoting Russia's official position.

Kiselyov also made great play of Russia's so-called "dead hand" capability to fire nuclear-capable intercontinental missiles automatically in the case of attack.


State TV says Russia could turn US to 'radioactive ash'.
A picture taken on October 10, 2011, shows Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov posing for a photo after
receiving a medal of Friendship during an awarding ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow
(AFP Photo/Mikhail Klimentyev)

The system, also known as Perimeter, was in use during the Cold War but its use in post-Soviet Russia is not officially confirmed.

But Kiselyov appeared to claim it remained active, giving Russia the chance to strike back even if its main command positions were taken out in a strike by the West.

"Even if people in all our command posts after an enemy atomic attack cannot be contacted, the system will automatically fire our missiles from mines and submarines in the right direction," he added.

The channel's graphic showed the line of a Russian missile heading towards the Pacific coast and the United States.

Pro-opposition news site slon.ru did not mince its words in describing the implications of Kiselyov's comments.

"This evening... Dmitry Kiselyov threatened the United States with a nuclear strike if the conflict over Crimea deepens," it said.

Russia and the United States are reducing their Cold War missile and nuclear warhead arsenals under the terms of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that entered into force in 2011. - Yahoo.


Russia Vows To Switch To Other Currencies Over Sanctions Threat
Photo:the Voice of Russia

Russia can dodge any proposed US sanctions by switching to other currencies and creating its own payment system, Putin’s economic advisor Sergei Glazyev said Tuesday. A senior Kremlin official has denounced Glazyev’s remark on US-Russia economic ties, calling them "a personal opinion" inconsistent with the Kremlin stance.

This comes amid US threats to pile sanctions on Russia over its stand on the Ukrainian coup. US Senate is currently debating possible measures against Moscow.

Senator Christ Murphy, the chairman of the Senate's Europe subcommittee, said lawmakers were considering such options as imposing sanctions on Russia's banks and freezing assets of Russian public institutions and private investors.

Sergei Glazyev told reporters today Russia would have to switch to other currencies to curb its dependence on the United States.

"We have wonderful economic and trade relations with our Southern and Eastern partners," he emphasized. "We will find a way not just to eliminate our dependence on the US but also profit from these sanctions."

Sanctions imposed by the US against the Russian government institutions will force Russia to recognize the impossibility of loans repayment to the US banks, Presidential Aide Sergei Glazyev said.

"If sanctions are applied against state structures, we will be forced to recognize the impossibility of repayment of the loans that the US banks gave to the Russian structures. Indeed, sanctions are a double-edged weapon, and if the US chooses to freeze our assets, then our equities and liabilities in dollars will also be frozen. This means that our banks and businesses will not return the loans to American partners," he said.

Russia will only engage in a dialog with the ruling Ukrainian regime if it "returns to legitimacy," Putin’s senior advisor Sergei Glazyev has said.

"This regime is illegal, it is profoundly Russophobic. Some people in the Ukrainian government, who have seized power by force, are on terrorist lists. They are criminals," Glazyev underscored.

"I cannot imagine us having any serious dialog with criminals, apart from talks that would bring them back into the legal framework, restore the rule of law and make Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, Tyagnibok and European ministers deliver on their promises [made in connection with the Feb. 21 agreements]," he said.

The Kremlin has expressed its surprise over remarks of President Putin’s economic security advisor Sergei Glazyev who claimed today Russia could easily dodge US sanctions. Russian media have learnt this from a senior official in the Putin administration.

Mr. Glazyev said earlier today that Russia would be forced to switch to other currencies and set up its own payment system if US Senate were to sanction it over Ukraine.

The advisor claimed that Moscow would recommend everyone to get rid of their US Treasury bonds if the United States froze the assets of Russian public institutions and private investors. He added that Russia would also have to default on its loans to American banks.

"Mr. Glazyev has not been authorized to talk on behalf of the Russian government and especially to voice such unacceptable measures," the source in the Kremlin said. He stressed it was Glazyev's "personal opinion" that had nothing to do with Russia's official stance. - VOR.



George Soros Predicts Ukraine Could Ruin The EU
George Soros Predicts Ukraine Could Ruin The EU.
Photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters.

The billionaire financier says in its tepid response to Russia’s Crimea land grab, the EU flubbed a key chance to breathe new life into the stale union.

George Soros, one of the world’s leading investors, has warned that the European Union is in danger of falling apart if it fails to confront Vladimir Putin’s naked aggression in Ukraine.

The billionaire financier told The Daily Beast that European governments should have seized on Russia’s land grab in Crimea to breathe new life into a union that is disintegrating and stumbling towards oblivion. Instead, he argued, squabbling European nations have failed to meet the challenge and continued to act in their own narrow self-interest. “Europe was totally unprepared for this crisis and Putin outmaneuvered Europe with no difficulty,” he said.

Soros, who became known as the Man Who Broke the Bank of England after making $1 billion by betting against Europe’s previous financial union, has long insisted that the Euro was being fatally mismanaged. His latest book, published this week, is entitled The Tragedy of the European Union. A loud supporter at the launch of the Euro currency and a cheerleader for a united Europe, Soros has been confounded by what he calls the “nightmare” reality 15 years after its introduction.

Speaking in London, he said it was heart-breaking to see European governments shrug their shoulders at the precise moment the continent was finally witnessing an unprecedented popular uprising in the name of the European Union. “Ukrainians have effectively proved that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to get closer to a Europe that is, at the same time, in the process of disintegration,” he said.

With Putin’s troops in Crimea and a referendum on joining Russia due to be held over the weekend, Soros said there was still time for Europe to act, and reinvigorate the European Union’s withering soul.

“I would argue passionately that [the European Union] should not be a failed experiment and events in Ukraine are a wake-up call to face that issue,” he said. “It’s a challenge, and I hope that Europe will respond to it and actually really rediscover its original mission because that’s what got lost in this distortion that has occurred.”

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, indicated that Europe was willing to increase pressure on the Kremlin on Thursday during her most emotional and strident speech since the start of the Ukrainian crisis. She said a referendum orchestrated by Crimea’s pro-Russia parliament would be a “catastrophe,” and indicated that the EU was willing to impose travel bans and asset freezes on people and firms accused of helping to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity as soon as Monday.

Soros argued that it was more important for Europe to offer positive assistance to the struggling Ukrainian government. “It’s very important to respond and respond the right way, which is not necessarily to impose sanctions on Russia, but to actually help Ukraine financially, and also with technical assistance—something  like a European Marshall Plan for Ukraine—that would be the right response,” he said.

In his new book, which asks “Is it too late to save the European Union?” Soros argues that Putin’s attempt to build a new Eastern bloc in Ukraine and beyond could eventually jolt Europe back to life. “We have just witnessed a dramatic test of strength between Russia and the European Union. Russia came out ahead,” he said. “Russia has benefited from the fact that Europe is disunited. But now that Russia is emerging as a threat to Europe, it may once again become a force that brings Europe closer together. I pin my hopes on Chancellor Merkel … one must never give up hope.”

He is hardly holding his breath, however. Soros blames the Germans for eroding Europe’s fragile union by enforcing policies of austerity and allowing southern European nations to build up debts they will never be able to repay. He accused Berlin of doing “just enough” to keep the Euro afloat: “This confirms my worst fears. It’s the nightmare I’ve been talking about and there is little chance we’ll wake up soon.”

Germany’s economic strength makes it the Eurozone’s driving force—Britain is not part of the currency union—but the nation’s history has turned it into a reluctant leader. “Germany has emerged as the imperial power, the hegemon of Europe, but the German public does not want to be in that position exactly because of the painful memory of Hitler. It is in denial and is unwilling to live up to the responsibilities,” he said.

Despite its unwillingness to assume a strong leadership role, Soros argues that Berlin’s fiscal rigidity has created a two-tier Europe where debtor countries are at a permanent disadvantage. If that does not change, he said: “We will have a Europe in which Germany is seen not as a leader but as an oppressor and exploiter. It will not be loved and admired by the rest of Europe it will be hated and resisted.”

That resistance has already begun in a swathe of countries where popular anti-European sentiment has been seen on the street and at the ballot box. Europe-wide elections in May are expected to send a record number of politicians to Brussels who are hostile to the very institutions they will be populating. In Britain, the governing Conservative Party has promised a referendum on leaving the European Union altogether. “That would be a big step forward in the disintegration of the European Union,” Soros said. “Britain’s absence would greatly diminish the weight of the EU in the world … The world badly needs Europe’s soft power.” - The Daily Beast.



GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Protests & Societal Collapse - United Nations Warns World MUST Produce 60 PERCENT More Food By 2050 To Avoid Mass Unrest!

March 17, 2014 - GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS - Political turmoil, social unrest, civil war and terrorism could all be on the table unless the world boosts its food production by 60 percent come mid-century, the UN’s main hunger fighting agency has warned.


UN warns world must produce 60% more food by 2050 to avoid mass unrest.
AFP Photo / Nicolas Asfouri.

The world’s population is expected to hit 9 billion people by 2050, which, coupled with the higher caloric intake of increasingly wealthy people, is likely to drastically increase food demand over the coming decades said Hiroyuki Konuma, the assistant director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Asia-Pacific.

Increased food demand comes at a time when the world is investing less in agricultural research, prompting fear among scientists that global food security could be imperiled.

"If we fail to meet our goal and a food shortage occurs, there will be a high risk of social and political unrest, civil wars and terrorism, and world security as a whole might be affected," Reuters cites Konuma as saying at a one-week regional food security conference in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Several factors could exacerbate the potential for apocalyptic famines. In November, a leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that climate change could cause a 2 percent drop each decade of this century. In the past three years for example, Australia, Canada, China, Russia and the United States have all suffered big flood and drought induced harvest losses.

Exacerbating this problem is a convergence in diets worldwide, with reliance on an ever smaller group of crops leaving global food supplies increasingly vulnerable to inflationary pressure, insects and disease.

"As the global population rises and the pressure increases on our global food system, so does our dependence on the global crops and production system that feeds us,” Luigi Guarino, from the Global Crop Diversity Trust, told the BBC earlier this month.

"The price of failure of any of these crops will become very high."

Progress has been made in the battle against global hunger, with vegetable production in Asia and the Pacific, where more than three-quarters of the world’s vegetables are grown, increasing by 25 percent over the last decade.

The FAO estimates, however, that 842 million people in the world remain undernourished, with nearly two thirds of them living in the Asia-Pacific. One in four children under the age of five is stunted due to malnutrition.

To combat the problem, the UN body has outlined two primary options: increasing arable land areas as well as productivity rates. A lack of available arable land and more sluggish growth rates in staple crops have complicated efforts to bolster these two pillars of food security.

Over the past two years, productivity rates for rice and wheat have hovered around 0.6 to 0.8 percent. Those rates would have to stabilize around 1 percent in order to offset serious shortages, said Konuma.

Environmentalists have also urged better food distribution methods. In February, the FAO, World Bank and World Resources Institute estimated that the world is losing 25 to 33 percent of the food it produces – nearly 4 billion metric tons.

More efficient agricultural production, better means of storing food and biologically diverse, local food systems less susceptible to global changes have also been proposed as solutions to help tackle the growing threat of food insecurity. - RT.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Uptick - Strong 6.2 Magnitude Aftershock Hits Off Northern Chile, Just Hours After A Powerful 7.0 Magnitude Tremor Jolted The Same Area! [MAPS+ESTIMATES]

March 17, 2014 - CHILE - A strong aftershock 6.2 in magnitude struck offshore northern Chile early on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake nearby on Sunday that caused only minor damage but led to brief evacuations along the coast.


Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Chile's Northern Coast.
USGS earthquake location map.

Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Chile's Northern Coast.
USGS earthquake shakemap intensity map.

Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Chile's Northern Coast.
USGS earthquake uncertainty ratio map.


The aftershock struck 47 miles west-northwest of Iquique at 2:11 a.m. local time (0511 GMT) at a relatively shallow depth of 6.6 miles, USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.


Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Chile's Northern Coast.
USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Chile's Northern Coast.
USGS earthquake population exposure map.

Strong 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Chile's Northern Coast.
USGS earthquake estimates and losses.

Following the earlier quake, Chile's massive copper mines, clustered in the mineral-rich North, appeared to be fine. Collahuasi, a partnership between Glencore Xstrata and Anglo American, located in the area, said operations were normal.


People stay on higher grounds in a tsunami safety zone after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook the region,
in Iquique city, north of Santiago March 16, 2014.REUTERS/Cristian Vivero

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said following the earlier quake that there was no tsunami expected. - Reuters.


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.