Monday, May 4, 2015

CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS & NEW WORLD DISORDER: Religious Warfare, Societal Collapse, And Civilizations Unraveling - ISIS Invades Texas; Two Gunmen Shot And Killed After Shooting Up Mohammed Art Event; Islamic State Claims Responsibility!

Bodies on road outside TX free speech event @PamelaGeller  @jihadwatchRS
Jim Hoft
May 4, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a weekend attack at a center near Dallas, Texas, that was exhibiting cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad - though it offered no evidence of a direct link to the attackers.

An audio statement on the extremist group's Al Bayan radio station said that "two soldiers of the caliphate" carried out Sunday's attack in Garland and promised the group would deliver more attacks in the future.

The Islamic State did not provide details and it was unclear whether the group was opportunistically claiming the attack. It was the first time the extremists, who frequently call for attacks against the West, claimed responsibility for one in the United States.

It was also unclear from the statement whether the group, which holds a third of Syria and Iraq, had an actual hand in the operation, or whether the two suspects had pledged allegiance to the group and then carried it out on their own.


FBI crime scene investigators document evidence outside the Curtis Culwell Center, Monday, May 4, 2015, in Garland, Texas. Two men opened fire with assault weapons
on police Sunday night who were guarding a contest for Muslim Prophet Muhammed cartoons. A police officer returned fire killing both men. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

An FBI agent views debris of a car blown up by police as a precaution, near the Curtis Culwell Center on May 4, 2015 in Garland,Texas. (AFP Photo/Jared L. Christopher)


The statement was read on Al Bayan radio - a station based in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which the group has proclaimed the capital of its self-styled caliphate.

"We tell ... America that what is coming will be more grievous and more bitter and you will see from the soldiers of the caliphate what will harm you, God willing," it said.

Two suspects in the attack were shot dead after opening fire at a security guard outside the center. Officials identified them as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi.


WATCH: Shooting at Mohammed ‘art event’ in Texas: 2 gunmen killed.




According to mainstream Islamic tradition, any physical depiction of the Prophet Muhammad or other prophets is considered blasphemous. Drawings similar to those featured at the Texas event have sparked violence around the world.

There have been numerous attack in Western countries believed related in some way to the group. In October, Canada was hit by two terror attacks by so-called "lone wolves" believed to have been inspired by the Islamic State group. - AP.
 



FIRE IN THE SKY: Signs In The Heavens - Peak Of Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower To Illuminate Southeast Skies May 5th And 6th!


May 10, 2015 - SPACE
- The peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower is set for this week and favorable viewing conditions are in store for parts of the Southeast and Southwestern US.

The shower's peak lasts from the evening hours of Tuesday, May 5, into the predawn hours of Wednesday, May 6, but meteors can still be seen several days before and after the peak, according to Slooh, a community observatory that has connected telescopes to the Internet for public use.

The Eta Aquarids take their name from the star Eta Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius. Due to the fact Aquarius sits south of the celestial equator, those in the southern hemisphere will be able to view as many as 30-60 meteors per hour, according to Slooh.

For northern stargazers, about half as many meteors will be seen near the peak, Slooh said.

Astronomy fans who will encounter inclement weather or cloudy skies can view Slooh's live broadcast of the meteor shower on the night of May 5.

Slooh frequently airs live astronomy events by using its large network of community observatories from all around the world. After the event concludes, Slooh will show a replay of the event.

While many in the Southeast and Southwest will have optimal viewing weather, others throughout the U.S. will not be as fortunate.

Across the center of the nation, a slow-moving storm system that will first bring a flood threat and some severe thunderstorms to the southern High Plains later Monday into Tuesday, will prevent observers from getting a clear view, according to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

Elsewhere, a cold front that will cut into the warmth moving into the Northeast for the start of the week will bring a band of showers and thunderstorms to parts of the Northeast, Pydynowski said.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, a storm system bringing showers and thunderstorms will impede viewing opportunities, she added.

In addition to inclement weather, a bright waning gibbous moon will interfere with this year's event, according to EarthSky.

Viewers can look anywhere in the sky to catch a glimpse of the meteors and the best time to observe will be an "hour or two" before dawn, EarthSky said. - ETN.



 

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - 15-Foot-Wide Sinkhole Closes Lehigh Parkway South In Allentown, Pennsylvania!

© WFMZ

May 4, 2015 - PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
- A sinkhole developed in the 2400 block of Lehigh Parkway South, near the entrance of Mack Truck Customer Center late Sunday, according to Allentown police.

WATCH: Sinkhole closes Lehigh Parkway South.


The 15-foot-wide hole has been stabilized but t
raffic is being diverted because of the presence of gas mains under the road in the area, police said.


The hole is also about 50 yards from the main entrance to the Mack Trucks facility.


WATCH: The current sinkhole isn't the first one in Allentown. Another opened 6 months ago.



WATCH: In 2013 a large sinkhole threatened a family home in Bethlehem Township.




Mack workers are being diverted to the Oxford Drive entrance of the Allentown Recycling Center and then to the rear entrance of the Mack facility, police said. - WFMZ.





DELUGE: Heavy Rainfall Brings Death Toll To 6 Along Australia's East Coast!


May 4, 2015 - AUSTRALIA
- The death toll from heavy rains that inundated Australia's east coast has climbed to six, as flood warnings continued following a severe deluge that cut power to thousands of homes and isolated numerous communities.

The eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales faced a huge clean-up task ahead, but were forecast to experience easing conditions following two days of wild weather.

"Never before have we seen such a huge volume of rain drop in such a short period of time," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told broadcaster Channel Seven.

A six-year-old boy became the sixth storm victim when he was swept away by rough seas at a northern NSW beach.

The boy was walking along South Ballina beach with his father and older brother when he was pulled into the ocean by stormy waters, surf lifesavers said. Police said he was rescued by fishermen and flown to a nearby hospital, where he died.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Saturday the federal government would assist Queensland following the deadly storms. - The Standard.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Extreme Drought, Water & Food Crisis - Drought In California Kills 12 MILLION TREES Since Last Year!

This color-coded map shows drought conditions across the U.S., on April 30, 2015. Much of San Diego County, shown in red, is in an "extreme" drought. At this level, major
crop and pasture losses are common, fire risk is extreme, and widespread water shortages can be expected, requiring restrictions.  U.S. Drought Monitor

May 4, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - An estimated 12 million trees across California's forestlands have died over the past year because of extreme drought conditions, according to an aerial survey conducted April 8-17 by the U.S. Forest Service.

In San Diego County, 82,528 trees, mostly Jeffrey pines across Mt. Laguna, have succumbed to a lack of rainfall, with many more struggling to survive, said Jeffrey Moore, interim aerial survey program manager for the U.S. Forest Service.

There is "very heavy mortality, a lot of discoloration in the pine trees that probably will expire sometime during this growing season, as well as oak trees that are suffering," Moore said.


This aerial view shows Jeffrey pine and oak mortality in the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County, April 2015.  U.S. Forest Service

Moore was part of a team that surveyed the trees visually, using a digital mapping system while flying in a fixed-wing aircraft 1,000 feet above ground.

A tree's survival often depends on its proximity to other trees, he said.

"A lot of trees are competing for whatever available moisture there is in a drought situation," Moore said. "When you have too many trees in an area, it makes it hard on all of the trees."

In Southern California, the researchers tracked more than 4.2 million acres in Cleveland, San Bernardino, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests, where they found an estimated 2 million perished trees.

They combed another 4.1 million acres in the Southern Sierra Nevada, where they documented approximately 10 million dead trees. Their findings were compared to similar surveys taken in July 2014, Moore said.


The extent and severity of tree mortality, which occurred after the 2014 aerial surveys in Southern California Forests.

Recently dead or injured trees were mapped visually by a surveyor using a digital aerial sketch-mapping system flying
in a light fixed-wing aircraft approximately 1,000 feet above ground level.

In San Diego County, Moore said they found substantial pine mortality near Descanso Road in the Cleveland National Forest, and throughout Mt. Laguna.

The team did not attempt to map gold-spotted oak borer beetle-related mortality in this survey, he said. Nor did they track black oak trees, since it's unclear whether those without leaves are dead or just "leafing out"—bare but in the process of growing their new leaves for the spring.

The county's forests are already reeling from the 2003 Cedar Fire that devoured 280,000 acres, including in the Cuyamaca Mountains. The region was formerly blanketed by a coniferous forest, but recovery has been poor, Moore said.

"Most of those areas aren't even coming back into trees at all," Moore said. "They're kind of being switched over now into Chaparral plants because they burned so hot the seed source is gone."

Large trees, such as the Jeffrey pine, are important for storing carbon from the air. They also provide food and habitat for various species, including squirrels, deer and birds, such as the Pygmy Nuthatch that probes into clusters of pine needles for small insects.

"When you start thinking about what it takes for a tree, which is usually a fairly hearty type of plant to die off, it's telling you a pretty clear signal of just how intense the drought has been," said Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center.

"These dead forests are going to be more primed for any type of fire," Fuchs said. "Also, it's going to impact water quality as there's going to be more particulate that will go running off these hillsides into the rivers and streams."

Fuchs said 67 percent of California remains in an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, and conditions are expected to worsen as the dry season sets in.

"The heat of the summer really amplifies some of that development," Fuchs said. - KPBS.



DELUGE: Widespread Flooding In Java And Lombok, Indonesia - Thousands Displaced; Several Houses And Over 150 Hectares Of Agriculture Fields Destroyed!

Floods in Grobogan Regency, Central Java, Indonesia, May 2015.  © BNPD

May 4, 2015 - INDONESIA
- Floods in two provinces of Indonesia have forced several thousand people from their homes over the last 3 days.

West Nusa Tenggara

West Lombok regency has been the worst affected area in the province of West Nusa Tenggara where a river overflowed after 2 days of heavy rain. Three people have been reported injured in the floods.

The latest figures from local National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) officials say that 1,229 families have been displaced by floods in at least 5 communities in Kediri district in West Lombok regency.


Floods in Grobogan Regency, Central Java, Indonesia, May 2015. © BNPD

Floodwater is said to have reached 1.5 meters in some places. Eight houses have been damaged or destroyed and 100 hectares of rice fields inundated.

Central Java

There have also been reports of some flooding in Grobogan regency in the southwestern part of the Central Java province. Affected areas include Mlangi, Kendalsari, Tajemsari and Karangpasar.

Flood water is reported to be between 50 cm and 150 cm in some areas. Around 3,000 people have moved from their homes temporarily in order to avoid the floods, according to BNPB officials, who also said that 163 hectares of rice fields have been damaged in the floods. - Floodlist.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Major Global Seismic Uptick As The Black Celestial Event Nears - Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington All Jolted By Significant Earthquakes!

Seismic activity in the United States over the last two days. Earthquake 3D map.

May 4, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- Did you know that Michigan was just hit by the worst earthquake that state has seen in more than 60 years? In recent days, there has been a series of alarming earthquakes all over the United States. Of course none of these earthquakes was anything like the massively powerful quake that just crippled the entire nation of Nepal, but many are concerned that these earthquakes could be a sign of what is to come.

All over the planet, seismic activity is increasing. In fact, I recently wrote about how the number of volcanoes erupting right now is greater than the 20th century's average for an entire year. At the same time, the surface of the sun has become very, very quiet. As you will see in this article, there are scientists that link the two.

It is believed that times of very low solar activity have something to do with a rise in seismic activity, and there is one scientist that is claiming that solar activity is declining faster "than at any time in the last 9300 years" right now. So what does this mean for the future of our planet?

Before we get to that, let's review some of the very unusual earthquake activity in the U.S. that we have been witnessing lately.

As I mentioned above, the state of Michigan was just hit by the worst earthquake that it has seen in more than 60 years...
If you thought you felt an earthquake on Saturday — you did. And it was one of the strongest quakes ever experienced in Michigan. Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey, said an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 and a depth of focus of 5.9 km was measured around 12:23 p.m. about nine miles southeast of Kalamazoo, near Galesburg. Dozens of residents in several different regions beyond Kalamazoo — from Mount Pleasant and Sterling Heights to Lansing and even as far as Cleveland, Ohio — called the WWJ Newsroom and reported feeling a rumble and the ground shake for between five and 10 seconds.
If that was all that happened, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But at the same time, unusual earthquakes are striking all over the country. For instance, check out what just happened in Texas...
North Texas was rattled once again with an earthquake early Sunday morning.

The USGS confirmed that the 3.2 magnitude earthquake struck about two miles north-northeast of Irving at about 10:11 a.m.

NBC 5 viewers reported feeling the earthquake in Irving, Dallas and here at the NBC 5 studios in Fort Worth near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

This follows a string of earthquakes in the area just last month.
And nobody really ever thinks of Mississippi as a place for earthquakes, and yet the state was just hit by two of them. According to the USGS, a magnitude 3.0 earthquake and a magnitude 3.2 earthquake shook up the residents of Canton, Mississippi over the weekend.

In addition, on Sunday morning Los Angeles was hit by a magnitude 3.8 earthquake...
A shallow magnitude 3.8 earthquake was reported Sunday morning one mile from View Park-Windsor Hills, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 4:07 a.m. PDT at a depth of 5.6 miles.

The quake was classified by the USGS as "light" but was felt over a wide area of the L.A. basin.
Not to be outdone, the Bay area in northern California was hit by a magnitude 4.0 earthquake on Sunday afternoon...
A 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattled San Francisco Bay Area residents Sunday afternoon.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake hit about one mile south of the city of Concord.
Of course it is not really a great surprise for California to get earthquakes. The state had been fairly quiet for several decades, but everyone knows that it is just a matter of time before "the big one" comes. Could these mid-size quakes be a sign that the region is starting to wake up?

Meanwhile, sizable quakes are also being reported in regions of the country that are not typically known for seismic activity. In fact, northern Idaho was jolted by two substantial earthquakes on Thursday night...
Two earthquakes — a magnitude 4.1 and a 4.2 — jolted north Idaho on Thursday night, with residents from northeastern Washington to northwestern Montana saying they felt the tremors.
It is fairly easy for scientists to explain the earthquakes in California. But what is with the quakes in Michigan, Mississippi and Idaho? Something very unusual appears to be happening.

At the same time, volcanic activity is rising all over the planet. In fact, scientists believe that a submarine volcano off the northwest coast of the United States may have just erupted...
More than 80 scientists from around the world gathered in Seattle last week to discuss a thrilling development: For the first time, seafloor instruments were providing a real-time look at the most active, submarine volcano off the Northwest coast — and all signs indicated it might erupt soon. But even the researchers most closely monitoring Axial Seamount were stunned by what happened next. Beginning Thursday, April 23 — the day after the workshop ended — the new sensors recorded 8,000 small earthquakes in a 24-hour period. The volcano's caldera, which had been swelling rapidly from an influx of magma, collapsed like a deflated balloon. "All the alarm bells were going off," said Oregon State University volcanologist Bill Chadwick, who along with a colleague predicted last year that the volcano would erupt in 2015. "It was very exciting."
And one of the largest volcanoes in Hawaii is spewing lava for the first time in more than 30 years...
For the first time in more than 30 years, lava is flowing on the floor of Halema'uma'u crater in Hawaii.

Kilauea volcano's volatile lava lake spilled over the rim of a deep vent within Halema'uma'u crater several times overnight, lapping onto the edges of the vent like an overflowing pool.
So what is causing all of this to happen?

Well, could you believe that it is because the sun is being too quiet right now?

For a long time, scientists have known that there is a link between activity on the sun and seismic activity on our planet...
A 1967 study published in the Earth and Planetary Science journal, stated: "Solar activity, as indicated by sunspots, radio noise and geomagnetic indices, plays a significant but by no means exclusive role in the triggering of earthquakes."

A 1998 report by a scientist from the Beijing Astronomical Observatory... "Earthquakes occur frequently around the minimum years of solar activity."

As reported on NewScientist.com and numerous other science sites, including Space.com, the sun has recently entered into its lowest (minimum) actively levels in four centuries, coinciding with an increase in global seismic activity. "Solar activity is declining very fast at the moment," Mike Lockwood, professor of space environmental physics at Reading University, UK, told New Scientist. "We estimate faster than at any time in the last 9300 years."
Very interesting.

So why aren't we hearing anything about this in the mainstream media?

In recent years, the sun has become extremely quiet, and now things have gone to a whole new level. In fact, it is being projected that we could shortly see a sun that is "completely blank"...
Everyone knows that high solar activity has a profound effect on the space around Earth. Less well known is that *low* solar activity can be equally transformative. This week, the sun is plunging into a quiet state with almost no sunspots. Only a few dark cores are peppering the face of the sun, and they are so small you might have trouble finding them in this April 30th image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory: Almost no sunspots = almost no solar activity. The sun's X-ray output has flatlined, and NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of strong flares in the next 24 hours. If the sunspot number continues to drop, the sun could become completely blank.
If we have indeed entered a time of decreased solar activity, that could mean that seismic activity on our planet will continue to increase.

This is something that I have been warning about for a long time. I believe that we are going to see enormous natural disasters both inside the United States and all over the planet during the next few years. I believe that at some point we are going to see natural disasters that are so dramatic that they will literally change the geography of nations.

So what do you think? Do you believe that we have entered a time of increased seismic activity? - End of The American Dream.

WATCH: San Andreas - Trailer 3.




MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Dead Zones - Places Where NO LIFE Can Survive Found In The Atlantic Ocean; Researchers Are Puzzled?!

Example of an ocean eddy (not from the study) as seen from space.  © NASA Earth Observatory

May 4, 2015 - ATLANTIC OCEAN
- A team of German and Canadian marine biologists have for the first time ever witnessed so-called 'dead zones' in the Atlantic Ocean - places where no life can thrive, owing to there being almost no dissolved oxygen in the water.

Zones depleted of oxygen do exist in nature and have previously been discovered along populated coastal areas off the eastern and southern coasts of the United States and the Baltic Sea. But this is the first time such a place has been observed in the open ocean.

In a paper published in the journal Biogeosciences, researchers outline the existence of pockets of low-oxygenated patches of water in the Atlantic Ocean.

They are vast - sometimes 100 square miles in size. They travel constantly and are also seasonal. One of the biggest ever discovered forms each year in the Gulf of Mexico.

What makes these things tick is a hodge-podge of nutrients and microbes delivered from elsewhere. It's a cyclical process: the nutrients are food for algae blooms, which in turn get devoured by microorganism. This creates waste, which is then eaten by other microbes. This process uses up a lot of oxygen, creating oxygen-free pockets.

The nutrient run-off here is a means of transportation. But if you're an animal or fish, there are only two options: moving and surviving, or staying and dying.

Dead zones are normally found in shallow water, where not a lot of mixing takes place. The Atlantic Ocean is obviously very different, which creates a puzzle.

Researchers found that these particular dead zones masquerade as 'eddies' - basically huge underwater ocean cyclones that spin into a vortex, practically no different to how weather sometimes acts above ground. They can twist uninterrupted for months on end. The spinning vortex creates a wall around the central core - a process, which quickly depletes oxygen from it, and so, a dead zone is born.

"The fast rotation of the eddies makes it very difficult to exchange oxygen across the boundary between the rotating current and the surrounding ocean. Moreover, the circulation creates a very shallow layer - of a few tens of meters - on top of the swirling water that supports intense plant growth," study author Johannes Karstensen of the University of Bremen says in the press release of the journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

What surprised him and the team was that the levels of oxygen depletion found previously in dead zones were way off: before the study, common estimates put dissolved oxygen at around 1 milliliter per liter of seawater. Karstensen and team though found the lower end of the spectrum in the Atlantic to contain only 0.3 milliliters.

The intensity of the phenomena is dependent upon the speed of the eddy, chemical concentration, weather patterns and the Earth's rotation.

The researchers worry that the existence of dead zones even at the center of the Atlantic could have an effect on people living on land, particularly in Cape Verde.

"Given that the few dead zones we observed propagated less than 100 kilometers north of the Cape Verde archipelago, it is not unlikely that an open-ocean dead zone will hit the islands at some point," Kartsensen explains. "This could cause the coast to be flooded with low-oxygen water, which may put severe stress on the coastal ecosystems and may even provoke fish kills and the die-off of other marine life." - RT.





PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles New Zealand - No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location

May 4, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- A 5.6 magnitude earthquake has struck 30km north west of Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand. Hundreds of people felt tremors, registered by the local geological hazard information service as “severe.”

There were no immediate reports of damage after the initial quake struck at 2:29pm local time. The USGS registered the depth of the quake at 10km.

A second and lighter 3.4 tremor followed about 10 minutes later. It was located 20km west of Wanaka at a depth of 11km.

“It gave us all a bit of a shock,” Wanaka Tourism Office general manager James Helmore told Fairfax NZ News, as shaking persisted for some 15 seconds.


USGS shakemap intensity

“There may be some minor damage in plastering” he said, but there was none he could see at that moment.

Local media is also reporting evacuation at the Wanaka Puzzling World attraction park.

“It was significant, we evacuated quick because we didn't know whether it was going to get worse,” Heidi Landsborough of Puzzling World said. “It was a bit difficult because we had a few people who thought it was part of the experience.”

GeoNet geohazards information manager Kevin Fenaughty told Fairfax NZ News that no structural damage is expected as a result of this earthquake. Moderate shaking was also felt in Dunedin, Alexandra and Queenstown on the South Island.

New Zealand partially lies on the eastern margin of the Australia plate which is one of the most seismically active areas of the world, due to the convergence of the Australia and Pacific plates. - RT.



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.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.

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.

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

- USGS.