Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: MERS Contagion - U.S. Reports Third Case Of MERS Virus; 22 Hospital Workers Stay Home After Contact With Florida Patient As The World Health Organization Meets In Geneva!

May 13, 2014 - UNITED STATES - A third potential case of the dangerous Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS), has been found in the United States, health authorities said Tuesday.

The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph
from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). REUTERS/National Institute
for Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Handout via Reuters

"Two of the 20 team members exposed to the confirmed MERS patient are showing symptoms," said Geo Morales, spokesman for the Orlando hospital where one infected patient was treated.

"One of the two has been admitted to the hospital but is in stable condition. The other was treated and discharged and is following precautions at home. All 20 team members have been tested and we are expecting those results within the next day or two," the spokesman added.

The second infected US patient was confirmed as such May 10. The man, 44, is a health care worker who resides and works in Saudi Arabia, who traveled by plane May 1 from Jeddah to London, England, then to Boston, Atlanta, and Orlando, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.

The United States announced its first case earlier this month, a health care worker who had traveled to Riyadh at the end of April.

MERS causes fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can be lethal particularly among older people and those with pre-existing health problems.

Some 30 percent of the several hundred people infected with it have died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and recent research has suggested it may originate in camels.

The vast majority of cases have been in Saudi Arabia, but MERS has also been found in 16 other countries. Most cases involved people who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia. - Yahoo.

22 Hospital Workers Stay Home After Contact With Florida Patient
Hospital officials in Orlando say a Saudi resident with the second U.S. case of a mysterious virus still has a fever but is in good spirits. Officials at Dr. Phillips Hospital said Tuesday that the Saudi resident still has a low-grade fever and is being treated in isolation for MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Caretakers have to wear goggles, gloves and a special suit while tending to him.

MERS is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough but can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death. A third of those who develop symptoms die from it.

Dr. Antonio Crespo says two hospital workers were showing flu-like symptoms after coming into contact with the 44-year-old man. One was cleared, but the other was admitted to the hospital.

As health officials seek to contact others who may have been exposed to the MERS-infected patient, one woman told Local 6 she was exposed while flying to Orlando aboard the same flight as the sick man.

WATCH: Woman exposed to MERS speaks out.

Health officials said Tuesday roughly 500 people may have been exposed to the MERS virus by flying on planes within the United States with the sick patient.

One of those travelers learned Tuesday morning she had been exposed and was sent a health checklist.

"They informed me that there was a confirmed case of the MERS virus from my flight from Atlanta to Orlando. I was really scared," said the woman who does not want to be identified, but lives in Virginia and flew with her husband on May 1 aboard the same Delta flight with the MERS-infected patient.

Twelve days after her flight, her State Health Department called and sent her a letter that reads:

"You were exposed to a person with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(MERS) on your flight" and asks if she has symptoms like fever (100.4 f degrees), cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or pain when coughing or breathing deeply. She and others who flew with the MERS patient must record their temperature for 14 days after their exposure."

"I was in shock that I could actually contract it. We're considered exposed but there was no level associated with that. They just said to me, 'You and your husband are considered to be exposed to the MERS virus,'" she said.

She and her husband have no symptoms but still have to monitor their health and they have until May 15 before they are in the clear.

Health officials said the MERS patient continues to improve at the hospital. Health officials said because he was not coughing on board the flights, the risk of spreading the virus to people on the plane is very low. The risk continues to decline among people who had even less contact with him at the airport or elsewhere.

Dr. Kevin Sherin, with the Florida Department of Health at Orange County, said, "I think the risk is negligible to this community."

The Greater Orlando Airport Authority echoed that by saying in a statement, "There is no immediate threat to travelers."

About 15 other workers, including two physicians at Dr. Phillips Hospital, as well as five workers at Orlando Regional Medical Center where the Saudi resident also visited, have been asked to stay home from work for two weeks until they are cleared of having the virus.

"(Orlando is) the travel destination and we are going to see more cases come into our community, so I think Dr. Crespo and I would agree that all the hospitals in Central Florida need to become very proficient when handling the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus," said Sherin. - Click Orlando.

World Health Organization Meets In Geneva
Two health workers at a Florida hospital exposed to a patient with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have begun showing flu-like symptoms, raising concerns about the ability of global health authorities to contain the mysterious and deadly virus.

The World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting in Geneva on Tuesday to decide whether the rising rate of confirmed cases, most of them in Saudi Arabia, constitutes a "public health emergency of international concern."

Florida officials said they were monitoring the health of 20 healthcare workers who had been in contact with the patient, including a doctor who had already left for Canada. They also were trying to track down nearly 100 people who may have overlapped with the patient at two Orlando medical facilities he visited.

"We're not going to see the last of this," said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Florida Department of Health for Orange County. "We are going to see more cases coming to our community. ... All of the emergency departments in the United States, to be perfectly honest, need to become very familiar with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and making sure the protocols are in place."

The Florida MERS case is the second on U.S. soil. Both involved healthcare workers who spent time in Saudi Arabia before "importing" the infection to the United States.

The Transportation Security Administration, at the request of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is posting MERS warning signs at 22 major U.S. airports, including all three in the New York City area, a U.S. official said.

Saudis wear mouth and nose masks in their farm on May 12, 2014 outside Riyadh (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

The warning notes that the risk to most travelers is low but that people who get sick within 14 days of being in the Arabian Peninsula should call a doctor.

Disease experts say it is crucial that hospitals ask anyone who presents with fever or respiratory illness the person has recently been to the kingdom.

"Travel history is very important to ask about," said Dr. Amesh Adalja of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The virus, which causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia, has been reported in more than 500 patients in Saudi Arabia alone and has spread to neighboring countries and in a few cases, to Europe and Asia. It kills about 30 percent of those who are infected.

The CDC "is taking the current situation very seriously and is working in close coordination with local health authorities," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, who added that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the confirmed cases.

The WHO said its conclusions would be announced at a news conference on Wednesday. The last time the agency set up an emergency committee was in response to the 2009 H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic.


MERS is a virus from the same family as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed around 800 people worldwide after it first appeared in China in 2002. Like SARS, MERS spreads from close contact with an infected person.

Officials at the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando said on Tuesday the two local healthcare workers exposed to the MERS patient in the emergency department became ill, with one developing symptoms within 24 hours of being exposed to the patient and one within 72 hours of exposure.

One of the workers has been hospitalized and the other is being isolated in his home and monitored.

Hospital officials said the workers' symptoms developed a bit earlier than would be expected for MERS, which typically takes five to 14 days to develop into symptoms. The hospital said it did not yet know if the workers had MERS, but they were put in isolation as a precautionary measure.

The Orlando patient's case highlights concerns over how to prevent the spread of infection, particularly among healthcare workers who are vulnerable because of close contact with the sick.

After working in a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which has been treating MERS patients, the healthcare worker flew to London and reached the United States on May 1.

Although he had already begun to experience symptoms on the flight, they were mild, and he did not seek treatment at the Orlando hospital until last Thursday.

Last week, he visited with family and accompanied someone to another Orlando medical facility for a procedure. Even when he reached the emergency department close to midnight at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, it was not until mid-morning the next day that he was placed in isolation.


Since the hospital is less than 10 minutes from the Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World theme parks, the staff is on alert to diseases from other countries. It conducted a drill last year that involved a fictitious case of MERS.

Orlando hospital officials said the MERS patient was doing well and had a low-grade fever and a slight cough.

"He's in good spirits. He's cooperating ... we have not decided yet when he will go home," said Dr. Antonio Crespo, chief quality officer at the hospital.

Crespo said the patient started experiencing muscle aches on his flight from Jeddah to London on April 30. He developed a fever during his flight from London to Boston, where he took connecting flights to Atlanta and finally Orlando.

Because of his travel history, the hospital suspected MERS and contacted the health department. An initial MERS test on Friday was "equivocal," but a test sample taken on Saturday confirmed the virus.

Even so, healthcare workers in the emergency department who attended to the patient were not wearing masks before it became clear that it might be a case of MERS.

The first U.S. MERS patient, who was admitted to a hospital in Indiana late last month, has been discharged. - Yahoo.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Report For May 13, 2014 - Weak Strombolian Activity At Italy's Mount Etna; And 65 Earthquakes Registered Beneath The Kilauea Volcano In Hawaii! [PHOTOS+VOLCANO SUMMARY]

May 13, 2014 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Near-continuous weak strombolian activity is visible from the New SE crater. Tremor is currently low.

Mt. Etna showing active lava flows before sunrise, Sicily, Italy (Photo: Janka)

Strombolian activity at Etna's NSEC this evening seen from Catania

Kilauea (Hawai'i): Some big changes in eruption activity here on Kilauea over the past few days. In the past 24 hours alone, 65 earthquakes were strong enough to be located beneath Kilauea Volcano! Gas emissions continued to be elevated at the summit over the past week as well.

Perhaps the biggest change in eruption activity was that the summit tiltmeters recorded almost 4 microradians of (possibly DI) deflationary tilt. The lava-lake level dropped slightly but is still at a measured 51m (167ft) below the floor of Halema'uma'u crater.

On the east rift zone at Pu'u 'O'o cinder cone, the USGS recorded about -2.3 microradians of deflationary tilt over the past 2 days. Via webcams glow is persistent from the north, south, and northeast spatter cones on the Pu'u 'O'o crater floor. From our observations, it looks as though the lava that spilled over the edge of the cinder cone last week to the south is forming a channel and, possibly a lava tube in turn, pointing towards the ocean. We are excited about this new activity on the east rift zone, which may allow us to safely and legally access surface flows once again here on Kilauea!

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for May 13, 2014

Volcano Activity Summary:

Currently erupting:

Ambrym (Vanuatu): active lava lakes in several craters (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): ash explosions (updated 1 May 2014)
Barren Island (Indian Ocean): intermittent activity, likely strombolian-type and/or lava flows (updated 4 Feb 2014)
Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): strombolian explosions, ash plumes up to 500 m, extrusion of a small lava dome with rockfalls (updated 28 Apr 2014)
Colima (Western Mexico): extrusion of lava flow from summit, intermittent explosions (updated 10 Apr 2014)
Dukono (Halmahera): thermal anomaly, probably small explosive activity in summit crater (updated 3 May 2014)
Erebus (Antarctica): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 21 Jan 2012)
Erta Ale (Ethiopia): active lava lake in northern pit crater, active hornito with intermittend flow in southern crater (updated 11 Jan 2013)
Fuego (Guatemala): frequent moderate to large strombolian explosions (updated 3 May 2014)
Gamalama (Halmahera): ash eruptions since 17 Sep (updated 17 Sep 2012)
Grozny (Iturup Island): fumarolic activity (updated 3 Apr 2013)
Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): likely lava lake in summit crater (updated 1 Aug 2013)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia): growing lava dome, occasional ash emissions (updated 30 Mar 2014)
Karkar (Northeast of New Guinea): possible ash eruption on 1 February (updated 27 Mar 2014)
Karymsky (Kamchatka): occasional small explosions, thermal anomaly (updated 13 Apr 2014)
Kavachi (Solomon Islands): no eruption since 2007 (updated 2 Feb 2014)
Kilauea (Hawai'i): lava lakes in Halemau'uma'u and Pu'u 'O'o, lava flows on coastal flat and weakly active ocean entries (updated 13 Aug 2013)
Kizimen (Kamchatka): degassing (updated 22 Aug 2013)
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): small explosions, lava flow? (updated 25 Jul 2013)
Manam (Papua New Guinea): degassing, occasional ash venting (updated 28 Aug 2013)
Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): sporadic explosions (updated 27 Mar 2014)
Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands): lava effusion enlarging the new island (updated 18 Apr 2014)
Nyiragongo (DRCongo): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 26 Feb 2014)
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania): effusion of natrocarbonatite lava inside the crater (updated 8 Jul 2013)
Reventador (Ecuador): intermittent explosions, lava fountaining and lava flow emission on 23-24 April (updated 9 May 2014)
Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): ash venting, intermittent explosions (updated 28 Apr 2014)
Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala): lava flow on south flank of dome becomes more active (updated 28 Apr 2014)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia): growing lava dome, ash venting and small to moderate explosions (updated 25 Jul 2012)
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): growing lava dome, incandescent avalanches, occasional explosions (updated 1 May 2014)
Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): effusion of viscous lava, steaming, ash emissions (updated 28 Apr 2014)
Slamet (Central Java): strombolian explosions from central crater (updated 30 Apr 2014)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): continuing lava overflows (updated 25 Jul 2013)
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 1 May 2014)
Tinakula (Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands): increased activity at the volcano (updated 8 Feb 2013)
Tungurahua (Ecuador): strombolian activity, effusion of lava flow on upper NW flank (updated 28 Apr 2014)
Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): ash emissions, weak strombolian explosions (updated 14 Aug 2013)

Eruption warning / minor activity:

Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): steaming, degassing (updated 10 Jun 2013)
Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): hot spot visible on satellite imagery (updated 1 May 2014)
Cleveland (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): occasional small explosions (updated 2 Mar 2014)
Copahue (Chile/Argentina): seismic unrest (updated 21 Mar 2014)
Dieng (Central Java): increased degassing (updated 28 Mar 2013)
Etna (Sicily, Italy): lava flow from base of New SE crater, strombolian explosions / ash emissions from NSEC (updated 19 Apr 2014)
Galeras (Colombia): sporadic ash emissions (updated 25 Jul 2013)
Gamkonora (Halmahera): seismic swam, minor ash emissions (updated 27 May 2013)
Iliwerung (Lesser Sunda Islands): possible submarine eruption from Mt Hobal on 20 August (updated 20 Aug 2013)
Iwo-Tori-shima (Ryukyu Islands): possible small ash eruption on 6 July 2013 (updated 6 Jul 2013)
Kelud (East Java): steaming, activity at crater unknown (updated 2 Mar 2014)
Kerinci (Sumatra): seismic unrest (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Ketoi (Kurile Islands, Russia)
Kikai (Ryukyu Islands): steaming at summit crater of Iodake, occasional weak glows (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Kirishima (Kyushu): degassing, alert lowered (updated 30 Jul 2012)
Krakatau (Sunda Strait, Indonesia): degassing (updated 31 Mar 2014)
Langila (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): occasional ash explosions (updated 11 Feb 2013)
Medvezhia (Kurile Islands, Russia): strong steaming, thermal anomaly (updated 17 Jan 2013)
Merapi (Central Java, Indonesia): sporadic phreatic explosions (updated 30 Apr 2014)
Nyamuragira (DRCongo): increased seismic activity (updated 13 Apr 2014)
Pacaya (Guatemala): weak strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 18 Apr 2014)
Papandayan (West Java): strong hydrothermal activity, increased seismicity (updated 6 May 2013)
Poas (Costa Rica): occasional small phreatic explosions, intense degassing (updated 30 Mar 2014)
Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): degassing, sporadic explosions, slowly growing lava dome (updated 1 May 2014)
Rabaul (Tavurvur) (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): weak ash explosions (updated 26 Aug 2013)
Rasshua (Central Kuriles)
Raung (East Java): strombolian activity in summit crater (updated 5 Aug 2013)
Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica): small phreatic eruption on 11 April (updated 6 Oct 2012)
Sacabaya (Northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina)
San Cristobal (Nicaragua): possible ash emission on 11 April (updated 12 Apr 2014)
San Miguel (El Salvador): small explosions, seismic unrest, intense degassing (updated 28 Apr 2014)
Sangay (Ecuador): degassing (updated 24 May 2013)
Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): likely new dome building, weak explosions (updated 1 May 2014)
Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): degassing, seismic crisis, eruption warning (updated 1 May 2014)
Turrialba (Costa Rica): ash venting, strong degassing (updated 24 Jul 2013)
Ubinas (Peru): degassing, sporadic small explosions and ash venting (updated 9 May 2014)
Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): degassing, ash venting (updated 5 Aug 2013)
White Island (New Zealand): strong degassing, volcanic tremor (updated 20 Aug 2013)
Zavodovski (South Sandwich Islands (UK)): no activity detected in recent weeks (updated 9 May 2014)


PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Ohio Measles Outbreak Reaches 68 Cases - Largest In The United States Since 1996!

May 13, 2014 - OHIO, UNITED STATES - A measles outbreak in Ohio has reached 68 cases, giving the state the dubious distinction of having the most cases reported in any state since 1996, health officials say.

Histopathology of measles pneumonia.(Photo: CDC handout)

The Ohio outbreak is part of a larger worrisome picture: As of Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had logged 187 cases nationwide in 2014, closing in on last year's total of 189. CDC warned several weeks ago that the country could end up having the worst year for measles since home-grown outbreaks were eradicated in 2000.

The last time a state had more measles cases than Ohio has now was 1996, when Utah had 119, according to CDC.

The Ohio outbreak, like ongoing outbreaks in California and elsewhere, has been linked to unvaccinated travelers bringing the measles virus back from countries where the disease remains common. In Ohio, all of the cases have been among the Amish, health officials say. The outbreak began after Amish missionaries returned from the Philippines. The Philippines is experiencing a large, ongoing measles outbreak with more than 26,000 cases reported, according to CDC.

The California outbreak, also linked to the Philippines, had reached 59 cases as of Friday, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The center of the Ohio outbreak is Knox County, where 40 cases have been reported. Thousands of Amish in Knox and surrounding areas have lined up to be vaccinated, says Pam Palm, spokeswoman for the county health department. Though the Amish traditionally have low vaccination rates, "they have been very receptive to coming in and getting immunized," to stem the outbreak, Palm says.

Some of the unvaccinated missionaries told local health officials they would have been vaccinated for measles before going to the Philippines if they had been told there was an outbreak there, Palm says: "One guy we spoke to feels just terrible that he brought the measles back and exposed his family."

Ohio also is in the midst of a mumps outbreak of more than 300 cases. Given the outbreaks, state health officials are urging families to check vaccination records and get up to date before summer camps and gatherings begin. "Activities that bring large groups of people together can accelerate the spread of these diseases," state epidemiologist Mary DiOrio said in a news release.

Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, the virus infected about 500,000 Americans a year, causing 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations. Case counts since 2000 have ranged from 37 in 2004 to a high of 220 in 2011, CDC says.

While most people recover from the fever, rash and other symptoms associated with measles after a few days, complications can occur, especially in children. Those complications can include ear infections and pneumonia or, more rarely, brain infection. One or two out of 1,000 children with measles will die, says CDC. - USA Today

FIRE IN THE SKY: New Theory Suggests That Dark Matter Could Send Asteroids Crashing Into Earth - Potentially Causing Mass Extinctions Like The Cataclysm That Ended The Age Of Dinosaurs!

May 13, 2014 - SPACE - Dark matter could sling lethal meteors at Earth, potentially causing mass extinctions like the cataclysm that ended the Age of Dinosaurs, Harvard scientists say.

Artist’s impression of a 6-mile-wide asteroid striking the Earth. Scientists think approximately 70 of these dinosaur
killer-sized or larger asteroids hit Earth between 3.8 and 1.8 billion years ago. Credit: Don Davis

Physicists think the mysterious, invisible substance called dark matter makes up five-sixths of all matter in the universe. It was first detected by the strength of its gravitational pull, which apparently helps keep the Milky Way and other galaxies from spinning apart, given the speeds at which they whirl.

Scientists have recently suggested that a thin, dense disk of dark matter about 35 light-years thick lies along the central plane of the Milky Way, cutting through the galaxy's disk of stars. The sun travels in an up-and-down, wavy motion through this plane while orbiting the center of the galaxy.

Researchers suggest this disk of clouds and clumps made of dark matter might disturb the orbits of comets in the outer solar system, hurling them inward. This could lead to catastrophic asteroid impacts on Earth, of the kind that likely ended the Age of Dinosaurs, said theoretical physicists Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece at Harvard University.

Past research has suggested meteor bombardment of Earth rises and falls in a cycle about 35 million years long. In the past, scientists have proposed a cosmic trigger for this cycle, such as a potential companion star for the sun with the dramatic name "Nemesis."

These illustrations, taken from computer simulations, show a swarm of dark
matter clumps around our Milky Way galaxy. Image released July 10, 2012.
Credit: J. Tumlinson (STScI)

Instead of blaming a "death star" for these catastrophes, Randall and Reese point out that this cycle of doom closely matches the rate at which the sun passes through the central plane of the Milky Way. This hints that the galaxy's "dark disk" may be the actual culprit.

The researchers analyzed craters more than 12 miles (20 kilometers) wide created in the past 250 million years, and compared their pattern against the 35-million-year cycle. They found that it was three times more likely that the craters matched the dark matter cycle than that they occurred randomly.

This cycle might have killed off dinosaurs about 67 million years ago. "The cycle is slightly off for that mass extinction, but we have an incomplete data set regarding impact craters, so maybe with more information the cycle might fit what we know better," Randall told Space.com.

Although a three-to-one chance sounds impressive, the researchers cautioned that this statistical evidence is not overwhelming.

The scientists note that the European Space Agency's Gaia mission could reveal the existence or nonexistence of a dark matter disk. Launched in 2013, this mission will create a precise 3D map of stars throughout the Milky Way, potentially confirming or denying the existence of a dark disk that gravitationally influences stellar motions.

"Even if it's a remote possibility that dark matter can affect the local environment in ways that have noticeable consequences over long periods of time, it's still incredibly interesting," Randall said.

The scientists detailed their findings online April 20 in the journal Physical Review Letters. - SPACE

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States!

May 13, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - Does the economy move in predictable waves, cycles or patterns?  There are many economists that believe that it does, and if their projections are correct, the rest of this decade is going to be pure hell for the United States. 

Many mainstream economists want nothing to do with economic cycle theorists, but it should be noted that economic cycle theories have enabled some analysts to correctly predict the timing of recessions, stock market peaks and stock market crashes over the past couple of decades. 

Of course none of the theories discussed below is perfect, but it is very interesting to note that all of them seem to indicate that the U.S. economy is about to enter a major downturn.  So will the period of 2015 to 2020 turn out to be pure hell for the United States?  We will just have to wait and see.

One of the most prominent economic cycle theories is known as "the Kondratieff wave".  It was developed by a Russian economist named Nikolai Kondratiev, and as Wikipedia has noted, his economic theories got him into so much trouble with the Russian government that he was eventually executed because of them...
The Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also written Kondratieff) was the first to bring these observations to international attention in his book The Major Economic Cycles (1925) alongside other works written in the same decade. Two Dutch economists, Jacob van Gelderen and Samuel de Wolff, had previously argued for the existence of 50 to 60 year cycles in 1913. However, the work of de Wolff and van Gelderen has only recently been translated from Dutch to reach a wider audience.

Kondratiev's ideas were not supported by the Soviet government. Subsequently he was sent to the gulag and was executed in 1938.

In 1939, Joseph Schumpeter suggested naming the cycles "Kondratieff waves" in his honor.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Kondratieff wave.  The following is an excerpt from an article by Christopher Quigley that discussed how this theory works...
Kondratiev's analysis described how international capitalism had gone through many such "great depressions" and as such were a normal part of the international mercantile credit system. The long term business cycles that he identified through meticulous research are now called "Kondratieff" cycles or "K" waves.

The K wave is a 60 year cycle (+/- a year or so) with internal phases that are sometimes characterized as seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter:
  • Spring phase: a new factor of production, good economic times, rising inflation
  • Summer: hubristic 'peak' war followed by societal doubts and double digit inflation
  • Autumn: the financial fix of inflation leads to a credit boom which creates a false plateau of prosperity that ends in a speculative bubble
  • Winter: excess capacity worked off by massive debt repudiation, commodity deflation & economic depression. A 'trough' war breaks psychology of doom.
Increasingly economic academia has come to realize the brilliant insight of Nikolai Kondratiev and accordingly there have been many reports, articles, theses and books written on the subject of this "cyclical" phenomenon. An influential essay, written by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, has indicated that K waves have influenced world technological development since the 900's. His thesis states that "modern" economic development commenced in 930AD in the Sung province of China and he propounds that since this date there have been 18 K waves lasting on average 60 years.
So what does the Kondratieff wave theory suggest is coming next for us?

Well, according to work done by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, we are heading into an economic depression that should last until about the year 2020...
Based on Professor Thompson's analysis long K cycles have nearly a thousand years of supporting evidence. If we accept the fact that most winters in K cycles last 20 years (as outlined in the chart above) this would indicate that we are about halfway through the Kondratieff winter that commenced in the year 2000. Thus in all probability we will be moving from a "recession" to a "depression" phase in the cycle about the year 2013 and it should last until approximately 2017-2020.
But of course the Kondratieff wave is far from the only economic cycle theory that indicates that we are heading for an economic depression.

The economic cycle theories of author Harry Dent also predict that we are on the verge of massive economic problems.  He mainly focuses on demographics, and the fact that our population is rapidly getting older is a major issue for him.  The following is an excerpt from a Business Insider article that summarizes the major points that Dent makes in his new book...
  • Young people cause inflation because they "cost everything and produce nothing." But young people eventually "begin to pay off when they enter the workforce and become productive new workers (supply) and higher-spending consumers (demand)."
  • Unfortunately, the U.S. reached its demographic "peak spending" from 2003-2007 and is headed for the "demographic cliff." Germany, England, Switzerland are all headed there too. Then China will be the first emerging market to fall off the cliff, albeit in a few decades. The world is getting older.
  • The U.S. stock market will crash. "Our best long-term and intermediate cycles suggest another slowdown and stock crash accelerating between very early 2014 and early 2015, and possibly lasting well into 2015 or even 2016. The worst economic trends due to demographics will hit between 2014 and 2019. The U.S. economy is likely to suffer a minor or major crash by early 2015 and another between late 2017 and late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest."
  • "The everyday consumer never came out of the last recession." The rich are the ones feeling great and spending money, as asset prices (not wages) are aided by monetary stimulus.
  • The U.S. and Europe are headed in the same direction as Japan, a country still in a "coma economy precisely because it never let its debt bubble deleverage," Dent argues. "The only way we will not follow in Japan's footsteps is if the Federal Reserve stops printing new money."
  • "The reality is stark, when dyers start to outweigh buyers, the market changes." It all comes down to an aging population, Dent writes. "Fewer spenders, borrowers, and investors will be around to participate in the next boom."
  • The U.S. has a crazy amount of debt and "economists and politicians have acted like we can just wave a magic wand of endless monetary injections and bailouts and get over what they see as a short-term crisis." But the problem, Dent says, is long-term and structural — demographics.
  • Businesses can "dominate the years to come" by focusing on cash and cash flow, being "lean and mean," deferring major capital expenditures, selling nonstrategic real estate, and firing weak employees now.
  • The big four challenges in the years ahead will be 1) private and public debt 2) health care and retirement entitlements 3) authoritarian governance around the globe and 4) environmental pollution that threatens the global economy.
According to Dent, "You need to prepare for that crisis, which will occur between 2014 and 2023, with the worst likely starting in 2014 and continuing off and on into late 2019."

So just like the Kondratieff wave, Dent's work indicates that we are going to experience a major economic crisis by the end of this decade.

Another economic cycle theory that people are paying more attention to these days is the relationship between sun spot cycles and the stock market.  It turns out that market peaks often line up very closely with peaks in sun spot activity.  This is a theory that was first popularized by an English economist named William Stanley Jevons.

Sun spot activity appears to have peaked in early 2014 and is projected to decline for the rest of the decade.  If historical trends hold up, that is a very troubling sign for the stock market.

And of course there are many, many other economic cycle theories that seem to indicate that trouble is ahead for the United States as well.  The following is a summary of some of them from an article by GE Christenson and Taki Tsaklanos...
Charles Nenner Research (source)
Stocks should peak in mid-2013 and fall until about 2020. Similarly, bonds should peak in the summer of 2013 and fall thereafter for 20 years. He bases his conclusions entirely on cycle research. He expects the Dow to fall to around 5,000 by 2018 – 2020.

Kress Cycles (Clif Droke) (source)
The major 120 year cycle plus all minor cycles trend down into late 2014. The stock market should decline hard into late 2014.

Elliott Wave (Robert Prechter) (source)
He believes that the stock market has peaked and has entered a generational bear-market. He anticipates a crash low in the market around 2016 – 2017.

Market Energy Waves (source)
He sees a 36 year cycle in stock markets that is peaking in mid-2013 and will cycle down for 2013 – 2016. “… the controlling energy wave is scheduled to flip back to negative on July 19 of this year.” Equity markets should drop 25 – 50%.

Armstrong Economics (source)
His economic confidence model projects a peak in confidence in August 2013, a bottom in September 2014, and another peak in October 2015. The decline into January 2020 should be severe. He expects a world-wide crash and contraction in economies from 2015 – 2020.

Cycles per Charles Hugh Smith (source)
He discusses four long-term cycles that bottom in the 2010 – 2020 period. They are: Credit expansion/contraction cycle, Price inflation/wage cycle, Generational cycle, and Peak oil extraction cycle.
So does history repeat itself?

Well, it should be disconcerting to a lot of people that 2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007.  But we never learned the lessons that we should have learned from the last major economic crisis, and most Americans are way too apathetic to notice that we are making many of the very same mistakes all over again.

And in recent months there have been a whole host of indications that the next major economic downturn is just around the corner.  For example, just this week we learned that manufacturing job openings have declined for four months in a row.  For many more indicators like this, please see my previous article entitled "17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine".

Let's hope that all of the economic cycle theories discussed above are wrong this time, but we would be quite foolish to ignore their warnings.

Everything indicates that a great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and we should use this time of relative calm to get prepared while we still can. - TEC

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Rise Of The Global Police State - Author Glenn Greenwald Details How The NSA Covertly Implants Interception Tools In U.S.-Made Internet Routers In His Book "NO PLACE TO HIDE"!

May 13, 2014 - BIG BROTHER, TECHNOLOGY & SURVEILLANCE - The NSA has been covertly implanting interception tools in US servers heading overseas – even though the US government has warned against using Chinese technology for the same reasons, says Glenn Greenwald, in an extract from his new book about the Snowden affair, No Place to Hide.

A Huawei employee in Shenzhen, China, in 2005. The US has repeatedly claimed that its communications
technology could be compromised. Photograph: MCT via Getty Images

For years, the US government loudly warned the world that Chinese routers and other internet devices pose a "threat" because they are built with backdoor surveillance functionality that gives the Chinese government the ability to spy on anyone using them. Yet what the NSA's documents show is that Americans have been engaged in precisely the activity that the US accused the Chinese of doing.

The drumbeat of American accusations against Chinese internet device manufacturers was unrelenting. In 2012, for example, a report from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Mike Rogers, claimed that Huawei and ZTE, the top two Chinese telecommunications equipment companies, "may be violating United States laws" and have "not followed United States legal obligations or international standards of business behaviour". The committee recommended that "the United States should view with suspicion the continued penetration of the US telecommunications market by Chinese telecommunications companies".

The Rogers committee voiced fears that the two companies were enabling Chinese state surveillance, although it acknowledged that it had obtained no actual evidence that the firms had implanted their routers and other systems with surveillance devices. Nonetheless, it cited the failure of those companies to cooperate and urged US firms to avoid purchasing their products: "Private-sector entities in the United States are strongly encouraged to consider the long-term security risks associated with doing business with either ZTE or Huawei for equipment or services. US network providers and systems developers are strongly encouraged to seek other vendors for their projects. Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems."

The constant accusations became such a burden that Ren Zhengfei, the 69-year-old founder and CEO of Huawei, announced in November 2013 that the company was abandoning the US market. As Foreign Policy reported, Zhengfei told a French newspaper: "'If Huawei gets in the middle of US-China relations,' and causes problems, 'it's not worth it'."

But while American companies were being warned away from supposedly untrustworthy Chinese routers, foreign organisations would have been well advised to beware of American-made ones. A June 2010 report from the head of the NSA's Access and Target Development department is shockingly explicit. The NSA routinely receives – or intercepts – routers, servers and other computer network devices being exported from the US before they are delivered to the international customers.

The agency then implants backdoor surveillance tools, repackages the devices with a factory seal and sends them on. The NSA thus gains access to entire networks and all their users. The document gleefully observes that some "SIGINT tradecraft … is very hands-on (literally!)".

Eventually, the implanted device connects back to the NSA. The report continues: "In one recent case, after several months a beacon implanted through supply-chain interdiction called back to the NSA covert infrastructure. This call back provided us access to further exploit the device and survey the network."

It is quite possible that Chinese firms are implanting surveillance mechanisms in their network devices. But the US is certainly doing the same.

Warning the world about Chinese surveillance could have been one of the motives behind the US government's claims that Chinese devices cannot be trusted. But an equally important motive seems to have been preventing Chinese devices from supplanting American-made ones, which would have limited the NSA's own reach. In other words, Chinese routers and servers represent not only economic competition but also surveillance competition. - The Guardian

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Puncture-Perfect NINE-METER-WIDE Sinkhole Opens Up Near Trikala, Greece - Residents And Scientists Were "Overcome By Surprise"! [PHOTOS]

May 13, 2014 - GREECE - Both local residents and scientists who came upon this sight on Sunday morning were overcome by surprise and worry: the land in the "Livadakia Bey" area of the Koziakas mountain at Trikala had opened up.

The hole created was nine meters in diameter, with a depth of seven meters, and its creation is apparently due to the recession of the limestone bedrock of the area. - Koutipandoras. [Translated]

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Rise Of The Global Police State - Security Camera Surge In Chicago Sparks Major Concerns Of "MASSIVE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM;" At Least 24,000 Cameras In Place!

May 13, 2014 - CHICAGO, UNITED STATES - Between traffic-light cameras, blue-light cameras that scan neighborhoods for violent crime, cameras on board city trains and buses -- not to mention private security cameras -- there are few places you can go in Chicago without being monitored.

In the metropolis known as the City of Big Shoulders, it seems Big Brother really is watching. At last count, there were an estimated 24,000 cameras in place.

And the proliferation of cameras is raising new privacy concerns.

"It’s really a mission creep in terms of what those cameras were designed to do,” said Ed Yohnko, with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The basic rule with cameras is that people are free to record anything that happens in public because there is no expectation of privacy. But it gets more complicated, particularly with traffic cameras. Three-hundred-and-forty-eight cameras were at one point installed around the city, sold to the public on the claim that their purpose was to catch people speeding and running red lights.

Now, two-thirds of those cameras are being upgraded with 360-degree swivels so they can rotate and monitor everything within sight of the intersection.

That prompted the ACLU to raise the red flag.

“They were implemented and sold to the public on the basis of the fact that they were going to be used for traffic safety,” Yohnko said. “But what this new [technology] permits is for these cameras to now be integrated into the massive surveillance system the city of Chicago already has. So, the cameras can be switched from being traffic safety devices to being a broader surveillance system."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel knows how quickly the cameras can cause a public problem for a politician. His motorcade was caught speeding and running red lights 17 times by the cameras.

"Let me say this -- as soon as I saw that or heard about it … I said, look, follow the law, nobody's above the law, slow down, period, non-stop," Emanuel said, before abruptly ending questioning at a recent press conference.

City leaders are looking to the cameras as they try to get a handle on gang and other violence plaguing Chicago.

Twice now since the weather warmed up, shootings in the troubled neighborhoods of Chicago have outpaced one an hour.

However, the ACLU says security cameras in troubled neighborhoods have not decreased the number of violent crimes -- just moved them out of sight of the cameras.

Traffic cameras have not brought down the number of traffic accidents, either, according to Roy Lucke, transportation programs director at Northwestern University. However, the severity of injuries has decreased. This is, he says, because people are aware of the cameras and are less likely to speed through a red light.

The catastrophic T-bone car wreck has been replaced by the fender bender.

"So, if you cut down on the number of violators there's still some good. Obviously, we're reducing the serious injury and possibly even fatal crashes with those cameras," Lucke said.

With plenty of need and some results to show for the effort, the ACLU says what is missing is a set of guidelines establishing boundaries: for instance, rules saying a politician may not use the cameras to track an opponent or an employee may not keep tabs on his ex-spouse.

Further, the ACLU wants the guidelines made public. - FOX News.

EXTREME WEATHER: Tornado Touchdown Confirmed In Livingston County - As Storms Rip Through Southeast Michigan!

May 13, 2014 - MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES -  A series of severe storms ripped through Southeast Michigan late Monday afternoon, but no tornadoes touched down in Washtenaw County despite multiple warnings.

Severe weather rolls over Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor during a tornado warning, Monday, May 12, 2014.
Courtney Sacco | The Ann Arbor News

The storms caused limited damage and led to some minor traffic problems throughout the region.

The first official indication that the adverse weather was on its way was a severe thunderstorm watch issued by the National Weather Service at 2 p.m. The watch remains in effect until 10 p.m. and covers most of southeast and central Michigan.

The area's first tornado warning was issued shortly after 3 p.m. and covered Northern Washtenaw and Southern Livingston County. The warning was prompted by a storm that produced a tornado that touched down near Gregory in Livingston County.

Severe weather rolls over Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor during a tornado warning, Monday, May 12, 2014.
Courtney Sacco | The Ann Arbor News

A vehicle drives northbound through deep water on Whitmore Lake Rd. after a storm passed through the
area on Monday 12, 2014. Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

Tree branches are seen leaning on power lines over Dexter-Pinckney Rd. near Stinchfield Woods Rd. as cars navigate
through after a storm passed through the area on Monday 12, 2014. Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

Smoke rises from downed power lines over Dexter-Pinckney Rd. near Stinchfield Woods Rd. as cars navigate through
after a storm passed through the area on Monday 12, 2014. Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News

According to reports, a tornado touched down near the intersection of Doyle Road and Unadilla Drive in Gregory. There does not appear to be damage in the area.

The storm moved east and deposited heavy amounts of rain and a significant number of lighting strikes along the Livingston-Washtenaw County line. The storm was followed by a number of others that caused the warning that had been scheduled to expire at 4:15 p.m. to be extended by 45 minutes.

Other storm cells developed and passed near Chelsea and Dexter to the West of Ann Arbor and Saline to the south, causing a tornado warning to be issued for the southern half of the county at approximately 3:45 p.m. The whole county remained under tornado warning until 4:45 p.m.

The source for the warnings was rotation in the storms noted on Doppler radar readings that indicated possible tornado formation.

WATCH: Tornado over Southeast Michigan.

At 5 p.m. the tornado warning for Northern Washtenaw and Southern Livingston Counties expired without any further tornado activity.

The tornado warnings caused schools in the area to go on lockdown and students were not released to go home until after the warnings expired.

After the storms passed to the east of the county, a rope tornado was reported by the National Weather Service near Detroit Beach in Monroe.

Heavy rain fell throughout the region, prompting flash flood warnings to be issued for Northern Livingston and Oakland Counties. - MLIVE.

THEATRE OF WAR: Iran Clone And Weaponize Stolen United States Drone - "To Attack The U.S. Warships"!

May 13, 2014 - IRAN - The Iranian military says that it has fully reverse engineered a downed U.S. drone and armed it with missiles “to attack the U.S. warships in any possible battle.”

Iran showcases model of downed U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone / AP

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) made the announcement on Sunday as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei toured an IRGC military compound to view the new drones, according to reports in Iran’s state-run media.

Iran also revealed over the weekend the existence of new ballistic missiles and an air defense system that can reportedly destroy multiple targets at once.

The unveiling of the new drone has been met with particular fanfare by the IRGC, which announced more than two years ago that it had successfully downed an RQ-170 drone built by Lockheed Martin.

Since capturing the U.S. surveillance plane, Iranian engineers have been working on decrypting the drone’s computers and reverse engineering a similar unmanned vehicle.

Iran claims to have now weaponized its own version of the RQ-170 “with bombing capability to attack the U.S. warships in any possible battle,” according to the Fars News Agency.

An exhibition of the drone’s abilities took top billing during the IRGC exhibition attended by Khamenei, according to Fars.

“The highly-advanced radar-evading U.S. RQ-170 drone downed by the IRGC more than two years ago and its indigenized model developed by Iranian experts through reverse engineering were among the most important sections of the exhibition,” Fars reported.

Iran claims to have been using intelligence gained after downing the U.S. drone to assemble a new line of homemade unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will be used to fight the United States.

While the U.S. version of the RQ-170 is used just for reconnaissance missions, “the IRGC Aerospace experts have equipped the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with bombing capabilities, enabling it to operate as a bomber aircraft against the U.S. warships in any possible showdown between the two countries,” Fars reported.

The technology Iran gleaned from back-engineering the U.S. drone has set it about “35 years ahead” where it would have been otherwise, according to Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force.

Additionally, the IRGC also displayed new ballistic missile technology reportedly capable of deploying multiple warheads at once.

The new ballistic missiles also were unveiled over the weekend during the IRGC’s military exhibition. Iran has referred to the missiles as “military hi-tech owned only by a handful of the world states.”

The ballistic missile, named Zelzal, reportedly can carry “ thirty 17-kg bombs” and “destroy a wide range of targets” such as airport runways and military installations, according to Fars.

Iran’s ongoing development of ballistic missiles has drawn concern in Washington, D.C., as they can be armed to carry a nuclear payload.

Iran’s ballistic missile program has continued under the interim nuclear deal, which does not cover such activities.

The Zelzal ballistic missiles were showcased alongside what the IRGC described as a new air defense system that can destroy four targets simultaneously from a range of about 30 miles.

“The Third of Khordad air defense system can trace and target fighter jets, bombers and cruise missiles up to 25,000 meters (almost 75,000) high,” Fars reported. “All its components have been placed in a vehicle and its radar, tracing, and missile-launching systems have been improved.”- Free Beacon.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Oregon Coast - Second Magnitude 5.3 Temblor Nearby!

May 13, 2014 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck off the Oregon coast at 6:51 p.m. Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

USGS earthquake location map.

The earthquake occurred 181 miles WNW of Bandon. The USGS said two people reported feeling the earthquake; one in Los Angeles, and one in Springfield, Oregon.

Maps released by the USGS show the quake occurred close where the Pacific plate meets the Juan de Fuca plate.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity

On Monday, a magnitude 5.3 quake was recorded close to Sunday's quake, at about 9:45 p.m. the USGS reported.

There was no tsunami danger from either quake, scientists said. - Oregon Live.

Earthquake History
A strong earthquake in Del Norte County, California, on November 22, 1873, caused chimney damage in many places as far north as Port Orford, Oregon, and east to Jacksonville, California. The tremor was felt from Portland to San Francisco and onboard ships at sea. Chimneys were damaged (intensity VII) in the Portland area from an October 12, 1877, earthquake apparently centered in the Cascade Mountains.

Another severe shock affected Portland on February 3, 1892. Buildings swayed, and terrified people rushed into the street (VI). The earthquake was felt strongly at Astoria and Salem; the total area affected covered about 26,000 square kilometers. Some damage to buildings at Umatilla (VI-VII) resulted from a March 6, 1893, earthquake. Details on this shock are lacking.

On April 2, 1896, three shocks in succession awakened everyone in McMinnville (VI). The main shock was felt at Portland and Salem. A similar occurrence on April 19, 1906, awakened people at Paisley (V). Three additional shocks followed within 1 1/2 hours. A strong earthquake on October 4, 1913, in the Seven Devils Mountains of western Idaho broke windows and dishes (V) in the area. On May 18, 1915, a sharp local earthquake rattled dishes, rocked chairs, and caused some fright (V) at Portland; three shocks were reported.

Three shocks were felt at Fort Klamath (V) on April 14, 1920. The center was probably in the vicinity of Crater Lake. People in a small area around Cascadia felt an earthquake on February 25, 1921 (V). A shock that was probably rather strong in an unsettled region of southern Oregon occurred on January 10, 1923. Plaster fell at Alturas, California, and the tremor was felt strongly (V) at Lakeview, Oregon. The felt area extended to Klamath Falls. Another earthquake was felt widely over a sparsely settled area in eastern Oregon on April 8, 1927. The center was apparently in eastern Baker County; the maximum intensity (V) was noticed at Halfway and Richland.

Seismicity Map - 1973 to March 2012

A damaging earthquake occurred at 11:08 PM PST on July 15, 1936, near the State line between Milton-Freewater, Oregon, and Walla Walla, Washington. The magnitude 5.75 shock affected an area of about 272,000 square kilometers in the two States and adjacent Idaho. Ground cracking was observed about 6.5 kilometers west of Freewater, and there were marked changes in the flow of well water (VII). Many chimneys were damaged at the roof level in Freewater; in addition, plaster was broken, and walls cracked. Similar damage was reported from Umapine. Total damage amounted to $100,000. There were numerous aftershocks up to November 17; more than 20 moderate shocks occurred during the night, and stronger ones were felt (V) on July 18 and August 4 and 27.

A shock of intensity VI affected about 13,000 square kilometers in the vicinity of Portland on December 29, 1941. A downtown display window was shattered, and a few other windows were broken in other parts of Portland. The earthquake was also felt strongly at Hillsboro, Sherwood (where many were frightened), and Yamhill. The felt region extended into Washington; Vancouver and Woodland experienced minor damage.

On April 13, a major earthquake (magnitude 7.0) caused eight deaths and an estimated $25 million damage at Olympia, Washington, and a broad area around the capital city. The depth of focus was estimated to be slightly greater than normal, which, in part, accounted for the large felt area - 388,000 square kilometers in the United States. In Oregon, widespread damage was observed, several injuries occurred at Astoria and Portland. A maximum intensity of VIII was experienced at Clatskanie and Rainier, where many chimneys twisted and fell, and there was considerable damage to brick and masonry.

Minor damage in the Portland area resulted from a December 15, 1953, shock. There was one report of a cracked chimney and slight damage to fireplace tile (VI). Additional reports of plaster cracking were received from Portland and Roy, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. The total felt area covered about 7,700 square kilometers.

Similar damage occurred at Salem on November 16, 1957, from an earthquake felt over a land area of 11,600 square kilometers in northwestern Oregon. The tremor frightened all in the city (VI) and caused some cracked plaster in West Salem.

On August 18, 1961, another earthquake caused minor damage at Albany and Lebanon, south of the 1957 center. The magnitude 4.5 shock was felt (VI) by all in the two cities. Two house chimneys were toppled, and plaster cracked. The felt region extended into Cowlitz County, Washington; the total area was about 18,000 square kilometers. Portland experienced another moderately strong shock on November 6, 1961. Slight plaster cracking (VI) was the principal damage reported. Also, part of a chimney fell, and windows and lights broke. The earthquake was felt over a large area (about 23,000 square kilometers) of northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington.

A series of earthquakes near the Oregon-California border began on May 26, 1968, and continued daily through June 11. At Adel, old chimneys fell or were cracked, and part of an old rock cellar wall fell (VI) from a magnitude 4.7 tremor on June 3. Some ground fissures were noted in Bidwell Creek Canyon, near Fort Bidwell, California. The total felt area in the two States covered 18,000 square kilometers.

Numerous other shocks located in California, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and offshore points affected places in Oregon. The 1959 Hebgen Lake, Montana, earthquake was also felt in the State; slight damage was reported at Richland. - USGS.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Strikes Off Panama! [MAPS+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

May 13, 2014 - PANAMA - A strong earthquake struck off the coast of Panama Monday evening but does not pose a tsunami threat to Hawaii, officials at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

USGS earthquake location map.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

The magnitude-6.8 temblor was recorded at 8:35 p.m. Hawaii time and was centered 65 miles southeast of Punta de Burica, Panama at a depth of 6.2 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

No injuries were immediately reported. - Star Advertiser.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity
USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

The southern Caribbean plate boundary with the South America plate strikes east-west across Trinidad and western Venezuela at a relative rate of approximately 20 mm/yr. This boundary is characterized by major transform faults, including the Central Range Fault and the Boconó-San Sebastian-El Pilar Faults, and shallow seismicity. Since 1900, the largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the October 29, 1900 M7.7 Caracas earthquake, and the July 29, 1967 M6.5 earthquake near this same region. Further to the west, a broad zone of compressive deformation trends southwestward across western Venezuela and central Columbia. The plate boundary is not well defined across northwestern South America, but deformation transitions from being dominated by Caribbean/South America convergence in the east to Nazca/South America convergence in the west. The transition zone between subduction on the eastern and western margins of the Caribbean plate is characterized by diffuse seismicity involving low- to intermediate-magnitude (Magnitude less than 6.0) earthquakes of shallow to intermediate depth.

The plate boundary offshore of Colombia is also characterized by convergence, where the Nazca plate subducts beneath South America towards the east at a rate of approximately 65 mm/yr. The January 31, 1906 M8.5 earthquake occurred on the shallowly dipping megathrust interface of this plate boundary segment. Along the western coast of Central America, the Cocos plate subducts towards the east beneath the Caribbean plate at the Middle America Trench. Convergence rates vary between 72-81 mm/yr, decreasing towards the north. This subduction results in relatively high rates of seismicity and a chain of numerous active volcanoes; intermediate-focus earthquakes occur within the subducted Cocos plate to depths of nearly 300 km. Since 1900, there have been many moderately sized intermediate-depth earthquakes in this region, including the September 7, 1915 M7.4 El Salvador and the October 5, 1950 M7.8 Costa Rica events.

The boundary between the Cocos and Nazca plates is characterized by a series of north-south trending transform faults and east-west trending spreading centers. The largest and most seismically active of these transform boundaries is the Panama Fracture Zone. The Panama Fracture Zone terminates in the south at the Galapagos rift zone and in the north at the Middle America trench, where it forms part of the Cocos-Nazca-Caribbean triple junction. Earthquakes along the Panama Fracture Zone are generally shallow, low- to intermediate in magnitude (Magnitude less than 7.2) and are characteristically right-lateral strike-slip faulting earthquakes. Since 1900, the largest earthquake to occur along the Panama Fracture Zone was the July 26, 1962 M7.2 earthquake. - USGS.