Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PARADIGM SHIFT: Precursors To The Collapse Of The Petrodollar - Iran Moves Away From U.S. Dollar In Foreign Trade!

Getty Images.

January 28, 2015 - IRAN
- Iran is stopping mutual settlements in dollars with foreign countries and agreements on bilateral swap in new currencies will be signed in the near future, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has said.

“In trade exchanges with foreign countries, Iran uses other currencies, including Chinese yuan, euro, Turkish lira, Russian ruble and South Korean won,”
Gholamali Kamyab, CBI deputy head, told the Tasnim state news agency.

He added that Iran is considering the possibility of signing bilateral monetary agreements with several countries on the use of other currencies.

Kamyab believes bilateral currency swap agreements will ease trade and economic transactions between Iran and other states.

Reuters/Raheb Homavandi

Iran is not the first country to move away from the US dollar. In 2014, Russia and China agreed on swaps and forwards in foreign currencies, a move aimed at reducing the influence of the US dollar and foreign exchange risks.

Experts believe the establishment of the BRICS Bank was also a major step towards de-dollarization and reducing Western dominance in the global financial system.

The move was made to increase international competition and activate trade and investment cooperation on the world stage. - RT.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.1 Earthquake Strikes Northeast Of Ndoi Island, Fiji! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

January 28, 2015 - FIJI
- A strong magnitude-6.1 earthquake has struck in waters near Fiji on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey says, but there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

No tsunami warning was in effect after the undersea quake struck 29 miles (46 km) north-northeast of Ndoi Island, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website.

USGS shakemap intensity.

The temblor struck at 2:43:19 UTC time at a depth of 483.6 kilometres.

Earthquakes are common to the region, as Fiji lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire,"  an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate

The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.

Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (greater than 120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30°S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15°S, where the D'Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D'Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D'Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake "doublet".

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics


PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.7 Magnitude Earthquake Rumbles Northern California!

USGS earthquake location.

- A magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck 25 miles southwest of Ferndale, Humboldt County on Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake was reported 40 miles southwest of Eureka. According to USGS, the quake took place at 1:08 p.m.

Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office says no damage or injuries were immediately reported, the Associated Press reported.

USGS shakemap intensity.

No tsunamis are expected from the earthquake, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.

On the USGS "Did You Feel It" site, the most responses came in from Eureka, Arcata, Ferndale and Fortuna. People as far away as San Jose and Salinas reported feeling the shake.

The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) tweeted that "a room full of Public Safety Officials felt the 5.7 earthquake that shook Humboldt County a few minutes ago."

Many others took to Twitter to report the shaking.

A strong 6.8 earthquake struck 50 miles off the coast from Eureka last March, but there were no reports of damage or risk of a tsunami. The quake's depth and distance from the shore reduced its impact, experts said.

- NBC Bay Area.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Family Of 5 Escapes Car Swallowed By MONSTER SINKHOLE In Bladensburg, Maryland!

The sinkhole broke open in Bladensburg on Edmonston Road, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) said

January 28, 2015 - MARYLAND, UNITED STATES
- A sinkhole gobbled up one family's car in Maryland on Tuesday morning.

Darwin Mendoza says he was in the car with his 8-year-old son, and two daughters, a 4-year-old and a 6-month-old baby, when it hit the hole as he was backing out of his driveway. The hole was hidden by water.

Mendoza says at first, only one tire sank, and that he and his children got out of the car. They then watched as the sinkhole got bigger and swallowed the car whole.

'They were running to leave. Thank God they didn't put their seat belts on. It helped them get out of the car,' neighbor Luz Martinez told NBC Washington.

Multiple nearby homes, including that of Martinez, suffered flooding, according to NBC Washington.

A sinkhole on a Maryland road Tuesday morning almost completely absorbed a family's car

Around five homes were forced to evacuate, according to WUSA9.

Photos from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) show that the sinkhole also left the front of a separate vehicle in water from the hole.

The sinkhole is located in Bladensburg on Edmonston Road and is due to a water main breaking, according to WSSC.

The agency tweeted early Tuesday morning that there was a 'Water main partial shutdown. Next step is to drain the hole remove cars and dig out around the break.'

The water main responsible is also close to 100 years old.

WATCH: Family escapes as massive sinkhole swallows car.

WSSC tweeted '#WSSC Broken 12" water main on Edmonston Rd - 90 years old. Put in ground 1925. Calvin Coolidge was prez. #aginginfrastructure.'

77 people do not have water - and the two cars were cleared from the sinkhole, the agency said.
The sinkhole broke open in Bladensburg on Edmonston Road, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) said

WSSC tweeted later Tuesday morning '#WSSC making progress repairing broken 12" water main Edmonston Rd. Cars removed. 15ft of pipe needs replacement.'

WSSC spokesman Jerry Irvine told The Washington Post 'This happened to break right underneath where a car was parked.

'When it broke, the car was right above it. It dropped right into the hole.' - Daily Mail.

ICE AGE NOW: Powerful Snowstorm Buries New England - Cuts Off Nantucket!

© Dominick Reuter/Reuters.

- The first major storm of the winter blasted across eastern New England on Tuesday, unleashing whiteout conditions driven by gale-force winds that pelted faces like small icy daggers and made cars disappear under igloo-like formations.

The storm may not have lived up to its billing in New York City, but it more than delivered in New England. It cut off the island of Nantucket, where almost all 12,000 year-round residents lost power and telephone service, and it flooded the Atlantic coastal town of Scituate, where a car floated downtown.

As snow continued to swirl Tuesday afternoon, forecasters were still expecting the predicted two to three feet. In Shrewsbury, about 40 miles west of Boston, 31 inches had fallen by 10 a.m.; Worcester, nearby, had received 26 inches and was on track to break records.

The good news for much of New England was that the snow was light and fluffy, not the wet, heavy flakes that coagulate on tree limbs and bring down power lines. Still, by midday, tens of thousands of homes in Massachusetts were without power, most of them on Cape Cod.

Coastal communities were bracing for the next high tide starting around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

There was no power on Nantucket - including at the fire station - where hurricane-force winds up to 78 miles an hour raked the island and led to the cancellation of ferry service to the mainland. "It will get cold tonight," the police chief, William Pittman said. "We have to get people situated before dark if they want to be evacuated."

That job was complicated by the near total loss of communication systems. "Some of our landlines are down, cell service is spotty, the Internet and TV are down, and the only thing we have is our public safety radio," Chief Pittman said in an interview over that radio.

Whiteout conditions made flights to the island impossible. "Nobody will be coming now," the police chief said. "We're pretty much assured there won't be any assistance at least until tomorrow." He estimated that the island had enough food and fuel to last for a week without new supplies.

The town of Scituate, about 30 miles south of Boston on the Atlantic coast, began receiving requests for evacuations from residents at 3:45 a.m. as high tide neared. Officials pre-emptively shut off power to 200 homes in flood-prone areas in an attempt to prevent fires, the Scituate town administrator, Patricia Vinchesi, said.

"We experienced two serious fires in 2010, where firefighters had to put out fires and rescue people in eight feet of water," Ms. Vinchesi said. "So we shut off power to 200 homes in the areas that are always flooded because, if there was a problem, we could not get people there."

The police in Marshfield, Mass., just south of Scituate, said high tide had washed away a major section of a sea wall and caused structural damage to a home.

WATCH: Snowstorm hit New England hard.

At a briefing after noon, Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said the region had been hit with two storms - a moderate, manageable one in the west and an intense one in the east, where another 10 inches might fall by the time the storm tapers off early Wednesday morning. He lifted the travel ban in four western counties but kept it in place for the east and all of Interstate 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike.

States of emergency were in effect across New England, with Maine the last to declare one, early Tuesday morning. "The amount of snow and the high winds, along with blowing and drifting snow, makes this storm dangerous for many Mainers," Gov. Paul R. LePage said in making the declaration.

Travel bans have not been imposed in Maine or New Hampshire, though speeds on the Maine Turnpike were lowered to 45 miles an hour. A travel ban was in effect in Rhode Island, and most public schools in the region were shut.

Peter Gaynor, the head of the Rhode Island Department of Emergency Management, told CNN that the travel ban had allowed the snowplows to keep up with clearing the roads without having to deal with other vehicles.

Raging winds were the worst aspect of the storm, with gusts raking across Nantucket at up to 78 miles an hour.

The Boston subway system and commuter rail lines were shut, as was Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service. Airports were closed in Boston and Portland, Me.

Massachusetts state officials used electronic signs on highways to speak to Boston drivers in their native language: "Wicked Big Storm Coming. Pahk Ya Cah!"

In the category of hell-freezes-over, Roger Carroll of The Telegraph of Nashua, in New Hampshire, sent out this Tweet: "Here's how you know storm is serious: NH is closing liquor stores on Tuesday. #nhpolitics #hellfreezesover"

Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire told New England Cable News that she had closed state government, which she said was an "unusual event" in hardy New Hampshire, because snow was coming down at four inches an hour and visibility was dangerously low. The governor did not order a travel ban, she said, because she did not want law enforcement officials distracted by having to enforce it. By and large, she said, residents were cooperating and staying at home.

Temperatures were much colder than originally forecast, with Boston at 14 degrees and the winds making the air feel like minus 2. But the cold was what made the snow lighter; if it had been warmer, the snow would have been wetter and power losses would have been more extensive.

Snow was forecast to fall through Tuesday night and not taper off until early Wednesday.

"It's just kind of all white and gray," Genevieve Hunt, 55, of South Dartmouth, Mass., a town on the state's south coast, said Monday night.

Referring to wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour, she added: "It'll settle down once in a while, but it's kind of scary when you go to the window and you can't see what's going on outside."

In Providence, nine inches of snow had fallen by 6 a.m., and wind gusts of 43 miles per hour were creating low visibility.

Schools and businesses were closed across the state, and many people whose jobs required them to be at work had been hunkered down at their workplaces since Monday night. Dr. Margaret Van Bree, the president of Rhode Island Hospital and the Hasbro Children's Hospital, said nurses, doctors, cooks and other workers had slept in the hospital.

"In some conference areas, we have blowup beds, we have cots," Dr. Van Bree said. Because many patients had canceled elective procedures, she said, some workers would sleep "in some of the recovery beds or on stretchers."

Dr. Van Bree said she had an air mattress in her office and had brought three changes of clothes to work on Monday.

And Alexandra Weiss, 22, a college student hostess in the restaurant at the Providence Biltmore hotel, said she had been given a free hotel room so she could work at the restaurant on Monday night and do a double shift on Tuesday.

"School's canceled tomorrow," said Ms. Weiss, who was happy to earn extra money for her spring break. "I've never stayed in the Biltmore."

In midcoast Maine, the snow started in the early morning. Mainers woke up to strong north winds, heavy snow and single-digit temperatures.

Schools and town offices were closed from Kittery, on the New Hampshire border, to Eastport, on the Canadian border.

For those watching for records, the snowfall level to beat in Boston was 27.5 inches, set 12 years ago over Presidents' Day weekend. It was the largest snowfall here in a 24-hour period.

Michael Kistner, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray, Me., said that snow was falling at a rate of three to four inches an hour in southeastern New Hampshire and would continue, "probably through the next four to six hours."

"It's the jackpot area," Mr. Kistner said. - NY Times.

RATTLE & HUM: Overhead Meteor - Mysterious Explosion In Wellington, New Zealand?!

What happened in the Wellington suburb of Strathmore is unclear, according to police.  © Thinkstock

January 28, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- Was it a meteor? A gas cylinder? Or perhaps a bomb?

Nobody seems to know. But the one thing that is certain about the loud bang that shook the Wellington suburb of Strathmore last night is that it was not Superman.

What is widely being treated as an explosion in the eastern suburb about 9.30pm, is being put down by police as an unexplained mystery.

Ahuriri St resident Kevin Cree said a lot of police cars cordoned off the end of his road last night.

Armed Offenders Squad members and police dogs were also called but, by this morning, there was no clue about what caused the blast.

He speculated that it could have been a leftover bomb that went off in army barracks beyond the end of Ahuriri St.

Julia King said police had arrived without sirens, and disappeared again after 30-40 minutes.

It was bizarre that so many people had heard it, yet nobody knew what the cause was, she said.

Another Ahuriru St resident said it was an explosion "like a sonic boom".

He had been told it was also heard in Lyall Bay, on the other side of Wellington Airport.

"The windows shook - everything shook ... within 20 minutes the street was full of people.

"Police blocked the end of the road but it was unclear if they found anything.

"Some people thought it was a meteor. It did feel like a natural phenomenon."

Social media ran wild with the action in the area.

@k8harris tweeted "Explosion out in South Wellington (Strathmore)? People out on streets."

@julia_m_king tweeted, "our house shook, sounded so close. Cops screaming down Broadway but haven't come up the hill."

Inspector Mike Coleman, of Police Central Communications, last night said six police units responded after reports some of the youths were carrying knives.

However, those claims had not been substantiated, he said.

There was a report of an "explosion" and police were investigating the source of the noise, Coleman said.

Police spokesman Nick Bohm said police were not even entirely sure the sound was an explosion.

Matt Dravitzki, a spokesman for Sir Peter Jackson, said the reported explosion had nothing to do with the Miramar film making empire.

Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas said the airport was also not behind the big bang.  - Stuff.