Thursday, January 7, 2016

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Extreme Weather - Wildfires In The United States Burned Record 10 MILLION ACRES In 2015!


January 7, 2016 - UNITED STATES - For the first time in U.S. history, wildfires charred more than 10 million acres across the nation in 2015, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

That's roughly the size of Connecticut and Massachusetts combined.

At 10,125,149 acres burned, it's the first time the 10 million acre mark has been topped. The previous record was set in 2006 at 9,873,745 acres.

This year's amount is about 4 million more than average, the center announced Tuesday. Fires in Alaska made up about half of the acreage burned.

Nine of the 10 worst years for acres burned have occurred since 2000, center spokesman Randall Eardley said.


Accurate wildfire records go back to 1960. Prior to 2000, the U.S. surpassed 7 million acres only one time — in 1963.




This year's fire season was unusually severe in the Northwest. Wildfires there destroyed dozens of homes and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate, sometimes for weeks on end.

The season also included the largest blaze in the history of Washington state, the Okanogan Complex fire, which killed three firefighters.

The 2015 wildfire season was also the costliest on record, with $1.71 billion spent to fight the blazes, the U.S. Forest Service reported in December. - USA Today.






GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "Volcano Of Fire" - Guatemala's Fuego Volcano Spews Ash Up To 24,000 Feet; New Lava Flows! [VIDEO]

© Reuters via Storyful
January 7, 2016 - GUATEMALA - Footage shows the moment the Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted on Sunday.

According to Guatemala's volcanic monitor, Insivumeh, thick ash was sent up to 24,000 feet high because of the eruption.

It caused new lava flows and loud explosions, however none of the mainland has been greatly impacted.

This comes after an eruption that began last week intensified for the volcano, which lies about 30 miles southwest of Guatemala city.

The eruption has had no affect on any flights at the country's main international airport according to Reuters.


WATCH: Spectacular eruption at Fuego volcano.




- The Telegraph.



ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Blizzards Sweep Across Armenia, Blocking Major Highways!

Armenia - A highway in Syunik province covered with snow, 1 January 2016.© mtaes.am

January 7, 2016 - ARMENIA - Unusually strong snowstorms have swept through Armenia in recent days, killing one person, blocking major highways and leaving many cars stranded.

The blizzards aggravated by freezing temperatures began on New Year's Eve and continued in various parts of the country in the following days. The southeastern Syunik province was hit particularly hard by the calamity.

Police found on Tuesday the dead body of a 48-year-old man near Goris, a town in Syunik. The man, who worked as a guard at a local cattle farm, reportedly went missing on Monday after heading home to get some food.

The continuing heavy snowfall in the area blocked on Tuesday morning traffic through a road connecting Goris to another regional town, Sisian. Dozens of vehicles were left stranded there.

The Armenian traffic police stopped other motorists from driving towards that road, which is part of a highway running southeast from Yerevan to Armenia's border with Iran, as local authorities and rescue workers scrambled to clear the snow. The highway section was only partly reopened to traffic by Tuesday evening.

Several other roads passing through another mountainous province, Gegharkunik, remained closed. The blizzards have also seriously complicated traffic in other parts of Armenia and even in Yerevan. Many residents of the Armenian capital have angrily criticized municipal authorities for what they see as a slow response to the emergency.

"We haven't had such a long and intensive snowfall for years," Hovannes Khangeldian, a senior official at the Armenian Ministry for Local Government and Emergency Situations, told RFE/RL's Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

"Cleaning works are continuing in all directions, and if there are no further weather surprises all the roads will be reopened in the coming hours," he said. - Azatutyun.






DELUGE: Hundreds Evacuated After Floods In 5 Counties Of Albania - 8 Inches Of Rain In 24 Hours! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Flooded Lana river flows past homes in the Albanian capital Tirana following a heavy rain on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.

January 7, 2016 - ALBANIA - Two days of heavy rain in Albania has caused flash floods, river overflow and landslides in several parts of the country, including the counties of Tirana, Durrës, Lezhë, Shkodër and Dibër.

Civil emergency teams, including police and military personnel, carried out around evacuations in Tirana, Dibër, Durrës and Lezhë.

Yesterday the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a warning that heavy rain and thunderstorms were expected in several areas including Tirana, Lezhë, Shkodër and Dibër. The ministry warned that people should keep travel to a minimum.

Between 05 and 07 January, 2016, around 700 people are thought to have been evacuated in total. The country's Deputy Prime Minister, Niko Peleshi, described the response as timely and no deaths or serious injuries have been reported. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said major and regional roads have been temporarily blocked following landslides caused by the heavy rain.


Floods in Lezhë, Albania, January 2016. © Office of the Prime Minister

Flooded houses are seen in the Albanian capital Tirana following a heavy rain in Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016.

In Dibër County yesterday, around 200 people were evacuated in the municipality Bulqizë of after the Drini river overflowed. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said today that after efforts by civil emergency teams, the situation has since returned to normal. In Tirana county, around 25 families were evacuated yesterday in the village of Babrru after the Tirana river overflowed. Local media also reported flooding in the Laprakë district of the Tirana city. Authorities say that around 4 families were affected by a landslide in Bërzhitë, although no casualties were reported.

In Fier County, the Shkumbin river has overflowed affecting several villages in the municipality of Divjakë.

In Durrës County around 80 families were evacuated from the municipalities of Shijak (50 families) and Sukth (30 families) after flooding caused by the overflowing Erzen river.


WATCH: Flooding in Albania.




Lezha county was one of worst affected areas yesterday. Families were evacuated after floods in the village of Plana in Zejmen municipality as a result of the overflowing Mat river and nearby streams. Earlier today the Ministry of Internal Affairs said that the situation has since returned to normal in the area, although there are still some problems on the roads which are still blocked after several minor landfalls.

Flood Mitigation Plans


The Deputy Prime Minister, Niko Peleshi visited the affected areas of Lezhë yesterday. There he set out plans for central and local governments to work together on numerous irrigation and drainage projects across the country in order to mitigate flooding. He said that 2016 will mark a qualitative development in terms of irrigation works and drainage in preventing similar flooding in the future. He also proposed to tackle issues such as uncontrolled forest exploitation and the illegal building in floodplains and riverbeds, which he said have exacerbated recent floods in the country.

Kosovo

Local media are also reporting that the heavy rain, combined with snow melt, has caused some flooding in parts of Kosovo. Prizren district is said to be the worst hit, in particular the town of Mališevo. Some road and surface flooding was also reported in Pristina.

Rainfall


According to WMO figures, 198 mm of rain fell in Shkodër, Shkodër county, in 24 hours to 06 January. The next day Tirana saw 63 mm of rain and Kukës in Kukës County, saw 57 mm.

Neighboring Macedonia has also seen some heavy rainfall over the last 2 days. In Mavrovo 51.6 mm fell in the past 24 hours to 07 Jan 2016. Just over 60 mm fell in Lazaropole in the same period. - Floodlist.







WEATHER PHENOMENON: Waterspout Filmed Near Split, Croatia!


January 7, 2016 - CROATIA - Incredible tornado waterspout near Split.

WATCH: Waterspout near Split, Croatia.



- YouTube.



GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: It Has Begun - George Soros Says "IT'S 2008 ALL OVER AGAIN,... Markets At The BEGINNING OF CRISIS"; China's 29 MINUTES OF CHAOS, Stunned Brokers And A Race To Sell; TRILLIONS VANISH!


January 7, 2016 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - Billionaire financier George Soros is warning of an impending financial markets crisis as investors around the world were roiled by turmoil in China trade for the second time this week.

Speaking at an economic forum in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, he told an audience that China is struggling to find a new growth model and its currency devaluation is transferring problems to the rest of the world, according to media. He added that a return to rising interest rates was proving difficult for the developing world.

The current environment reminded him of the "crisis we had in 2008," The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka reported on Thursday morning. "China has a major adjustment problem," he added, according to Bloomberg. "I would say it amounts to a crisis."

China's CSI 300 tumbled more than 7 percent in early trade Thursday, again triggering the market's circuit breaker. As well as roiling sentiment across Asia, it also battered European risk assets with the German DAX down 3.5 percent at 11 a.m. London time.

U.S. stock index futures also indicated a sharply lower open as investors focused on China's swooning currency and economic slowdown.

China, the biggest economic story of the last 30 years, has soured in the eyes of many analysts. A stock market crash that began in the country last summer has thrown the vast difficulties officials are now facing into sharp relief. A raft of data has disappointed in recent months as the country's leaders refocus the economy on consumption from manufacturing.




Analysts also point to concerns over Chinese market regulators, who they believe do not appear to have a good grasp of the market, even with the introduction of the circuit breakers. In an attempt to stabilize markets, China's securities regulator has issued new rules to restrict the number of shares major shareholders in listed companies can sell every three months to 1 percent.

Marc Ostwald, a strategist at ADM Investor Services, believes that Soros' comments — alongside a gloomy report Wednesday from the World Bank — only serve to cast a "long shadow" over global markets.

"It should be noted that the current turmoil distinguishes itself from 2008, when reckless lending, willful blindness to a mountain of credit sector risks and feckless and irresponsible regulation and supervision of markets were the causes of the crash, given that central bank policies have been encouraged and been wholly responsible for the current protracted bout of gross capital misallocation," he said in a morning note. - CNBC.


U.S. Stocks Pare Losses, Bonds Fall as Crude Rallies Above $34

The selloff in global shares that started after China cut the yuan’s reference rate by the most since August showed signs of easing as crude erased losses and China’s securities regulator suspended a rule that’s exacerbated financial-market turmoil.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recouped 200 points of a rout that neared 2 percent as crude oil almost erased a loss of as much as 5.5 percent. China’s weakening currency and tumultuous financial markets had fueled a flight from risky assets after shares there plunged 7 percent for a second time this week. Treasuries erased gains, while the yen reached a four-month high and gold surged on haven demand.

“Markets in China historically have had no correlation to their economy or our economy. This is a very emotional reaction and it’s becoming a somewhat absurd reaction,” said Howard Ward, who oversees $42.7 billion as the chief investment officer of growth equities at Mario Gabelli’s Gamco Investors Inc. “We’re going to err on the side of not being too concerned and not getting caught up in the mini-panic.”




Fresh concern that China’s slowdown will hamper global growth has wiped $2.5 trillion off the value of global equities this year, as the nation’s tolerance for a weaker currency is viewed as evidence policy makers are struggling to revive an economy that’s the world’s biggest user of resources. U.S. crude’s tumble toward $30 a barrel heightened fears of disinflation and fueled concern that junk-rated energy producers won’t be able to stay solvent.

Fears eased in U.S. morning trading as China’s leadership signaled it may reconsider or change the system for managing equity selloffs at the same time that crude in New York climbed back above $34 a barrel.

“Chinese equity markets are highly volatile right now and anything they do to potentially stabilize that market improves the outlook for U.S. equities,” Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Oppenheimer Funds Inc. in New York, said by phone. “They don’t have a whole lot of experience controlling and monitoring markets and they’ve been going about it ham-handedly making the situation far worse than it needs to be.”

Stocks

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.8 percent at 11:04 a.m in New York, trimming a drop of 1.8 percent. The Dow fell 0.7 percent, clawing back from a 317-point slide to start the day.

China’s devaluation revived the angst that sent financial markets into turmoil last summer, driving U.S. stocks to three-month lows Wednesday in a selloff led by commodity producers. Comments by billionaire George Soros exacerbated market jitters after he told an economic forum in Sri Lanka today that global markets are facing a crisis and investors need to be very cautious.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 2 percent. The rout this year in Europe surpassed 5 percent, as Germany’s DAX fell below 10,000 for the first time since October. Companies with the most sales in China bore the brunt of the decline. Anglo American Plc tumbled and ArcelorMittal sank, dragging a gauge of miners to its lowest level since 2009. A measure of energy producers also fell to a near six-year low.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 2.1 percent. Benchmark stock indexes in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand all lost more than 2 percent.

China

The Hang Seng China Enterprises gauge of mainland shares listed in Hong Kong tumbled 4.2 percent, its lowest close since October 2011. The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 7.3 percent before trading was suspended. New circuit breakers, which kicked in on Monday, have been criticized by analysts for exacerbating declines as investors scramble to exit positions before getting locked in by the halts.

After the halt, the securities regulator announced rules to limit selling by major shareholders when a ban expires this week. Later, the regulator suspended a new stock circuit-breaker, signaling that the country’s leadership may reconsider or change the system.

Currencies

The yen, which has been the best-performing major currency so far this year amid the demand for safe-haven assets, rose as much as 1 percent to its strongest level since August versus the dollar.

The pound fell to the weakest level since June 2010, touching $1.4555. The U.K. currency slid 1 percent to 74.46 pence per euro. It has fallen every day this week against the dollar. Disappointing manufacturing and services data added to the view that the Bank of England will have to keep its benchmark interest rate lower for longer.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index rose 0.6 percent, rebounding from what would have been the lowest close since 1999 as crude erased losses.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.1 percent to $34 a barrel. Crude supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for U.S. crude, climbed to an all-time high, government data showed Wednesday.

Copper retreated 2.7 percent in London to the lowest since Nov. 24 and zinc slumped 4.1 percent. Cocoa for March delivery fell for a fifth day to an eight-month low on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Gold rose as much as 0.8 percent to a two-month high of $1,102.85 an ounce.

Bonds

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes rose two basis points to 2.19 percent after touching the lowest since October. Japanese government bond futures advanced to a record high after 30-year notes were auctioned at a higher price than dealers forecast.

Germany’s 10-year break-even rate, a gauge of the market’s outlook for inflation, tumbled to the lowest level since February amid concerns that the rout in commodity markets would subdue price-growth.

Emerging Markets

Energy producers led losses in developing-nation stocks, driving the MSCI Emerging Markets Index down 2.7 percent. Benchmark gauges in South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines and Abu Dhabi slid more than 2.5 percent and those for Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar tumbled at least 3 percent. Russian markets were closed for a holiday.

A gauge tracking 20 emerging-market currencies dropped for a fifth day, headed for its longest losing streak since October. The currency in South Africa, which counts China as its biggest trading partner, tumbled 1.2 percent. Russia’s ruble slid 1.1 percent in offshore trading while Mexico’s and Brazil’s real slid at least 0.6 percent. - Bloomberg.

China's 29 Minutes of Chaos: Stunned Brokers and a Race to Sell

Even by the rough-and-tumble standards of China’s stock market, it was a chaotic 29 minutes.

With share prices going into free fall almost as soon as local exchanges opened, market gurus at Huaxi Securities Co. were at a loss to explain why. One manager of $46 million in Shanghai liquidated all his holdings. Other investors, including a top-performing hedge fund, tried in vain to cash out as circuit breakers brought trading to an abrupt halt.

By 9:59 a.m. local time it was all over -- except that it wasn’t. Next came a torrent of calls from angry clients upset by the carnage in a week that’s seen two abbreviated trading sessions and a 12 percent tumble in the benchmark CSI 300 Index. And it’s only January 7th.




"We are dealing with a flood of angry phone calls from clients complaining about the market plunge and the circuit breaker," said Wei Wei, an analyst at Huaxi Securities in Shanghai. "We are also feeling at a loss and confused today as we didn’t quite figure out what was going on in the market."

There’s certainly an Alice-in-Wonderland quality to this week’s selloff, which has radiated across global equity markets and rattled investor confidence in the world’s second-largest economy. It’s not as if China’s growth story is over. True, the yuan is weakening and the economy is decelerating to its slowest annual pace since 1990, but that’s been known for some time. The currency is actually holding up well versus just about everything but the dollar, and analysts are predicting a 6.5 percent economic expansion this year.

Market Intervention

What does seem to worry investors is how deftly, or ineptly, Chinese authorities will manage a stock market that’s gone from boom to bust and back again more times in the past 12 months than most major peers do over the course of a decade. After policy makers took extreme steps to prop up shares last summer, analysts are struggling to gauge how Beijing will react to a renewed bout of volatility that threatens to weigh on business and consumer confidence.

Officials moved to act on Thursday by suspending the new circuit-breaker system, bowing to intense criticism. The rules, launched at the start of this year, were designed to kick in when there’s a 5 percent swing in the CSI 300. That halts trading for 15 minutes, with exchanges shutting for the rest of the day if the index moves by 7 percent, as it did on Monday and Thursday.

In a market with some of the world’s highest volatility, circuit breakers throw up a new wild card that the nation’s 99 million individual investors are still getting used to.




"It is clearly adding some unintended consequences, such as people trying to sell before the break, which is actually accelerating the decline," said Gerry Alfonso, a trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co. in Shanghai. "Investors need time to adapt to the new rules. This type of development in a retail-driven market is bound to be challenging."

The decision to suspend the circuit breaker came hours after CSRC officials held an emergency meeting to discuss conditions on the nation’s tumbling stock market, according to a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Officials unveiled plans to curb share sales by major stockholders just a day before an existing ban was due to expire.

Abrupt Halt

Some investors had no choice but to sell on Thursday. Take Chen Gang, who helps oversee the equivalent of $46 million as the chief investment officer at Shanghai Heqi Tongyi Asset Management Co. Chen dumped his firm’s equity holdings and said he won’t get back into the market until regulators improve the circuit breaker system. Many private funds and hedge funds in China have agreements with investors spelling out mandatory liquidation levels if their holdings drop below a certain value.

“This is insane,” Chen said in an interview on Thursday. “We were forced to liquidate all our holdings this morning.”

Then again, Kelvin Tay, the regional chief investment officer at UBS Group AG’s wealth management business in Singapore, sees a buying opportunity. "This week has been a disaster" but "it’s fun in a perverse way," he said. "Investors need to separate the sound from the noise. This is an opportunity to pick up stocks that are undervalued."

Some other managers couldn’t sell fast enough. Jiao Ji, whose hedge funds averaged a 61 percent return during the $5 trillion summer rout after he sold out before the crash, said the trading halts came so quickly that he didn’t have time to unload his holdings this time.

“It was quite abrupt on Monday, and it’s even more abrupt today,” said Jiao, the chairman of Sunrise Investment, based in northeastern China’s Jilin province. “There’s not even a chance for a rebound.” - Bloomberg.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Climate Chaos - El Nino Is So Last Year, Here Comes La Nina To Wreak More Havoc?!


January 7, 2016 - EARTH - As the effects of the most severe El Nino in almost 20 years still reverberate around the world, preparations are already under way for La Nina.

Indonesia is set to distribute water pumps to farmers and assessing its rice stockpiles in anticipation of the weather event materialising in October, Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman told reporters in Jakarta today (Jan 6).

La Nina, sometimes thought of as El Nino’s opposite, typically brings more rainfall to the region, threatening crops with flooding and delaying harvests.

Australia says El Nino has peaked and there’s a chance of its counterpart occurring in the second half of the year.

El Nino has hampered cocoa crops in Ivory Coast, curbed the monsoon in India and forced the Philippines to import more rice.

Indonesia deployed planes last year for artificial rain to help alleviate drought conditions that restricted palm oil output and exacerbated forest fires that engulfed the region in haze.

Based on the 26 El Nino events since 1900, about 50 per cent have been followed by a neutral year with 40 per cent by La Nina, Australia’s weather bureau said yesterday.

PALM OIL

“We’ll anticipate early, like we did on drought,” Mr Sulaiman said.

Palm oil output may stagnate or fall about 3 per cent this year, according to Mr Bayu Krisnamurthi, the head of the government-appointed Indonesia Estate Crop Fund for Palmoil.

El Nino is a warming in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, while La Nina is a cooling of the waters. Each can impact agricultural markets as farmers contend with too much or too little rain.

A large part of the agricultural US tends to dry out during La Nina events, while parts of Australia can be wetter than normal.

The previous La Nina began in 2010 and endured into 2012.

Conditions typically last between 9 months and 12 months, while some episodes may persist for as long as two years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Both La Nina and El Nino tend to peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter. - Today Online.






SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "Ball Lightning" - Strange Light Seen Over Canberra, Australia?!

© Youtube/Joanne Steen (screen capture)

January 7, 2016 - AUSTRALIA - A video appearing to show a strange light above Canberra during a storm was probably capturing "ball lightning", an astronomer has said.

The video uploaded to YouTube last night, claims to show a circle or donut-shaped light appearing in the Canberra sky during a storm.

Australian National University astronomer Brad Tucker said the red and green light which glowed faintly in the background was "characteristic of an aurora" however believed this time it was ball lightning.

"An aurora is when energy from the sun hits the earth's atmosphere, the energy rubs the earth's atmosphere with friction and charges the gas," he said.

"But the problem is there was no activity from the sun, it was cloudy, we can't see the aurora, so it doesn't really fit." Dr Tucker said in this case, the energy to create an aurora probably came from the thunderstorm itself.

"The same activity that causes an aurora, can actually happen inside our atmosphere if you have a storm with a lot of electrical charge that is rubbing against the gases in our atmosphere, causing it to grow that green or red colour," he said.

"Sometimes, if you get a really interesting occurrence, you create something called 'ball lightning'. "Normally lightning strikes up and down hitting the ground, but ball lightning is a weird thing where it appears as a ball explosion, sometimes it can even move around in the sky."

Ball lightning had been reported to occur "more often in Australia than elsewhere".

"[But] there are lots of weird natural phenomenon that happens everywhere," Dr Tucker said.

"In Norway there's this weird appearance that happens every Autumn for a few weeks that causes weird UFO lights, but the lights happen regularly like clockwork."

Dr Tucker said he felt fairly certain extraterrestrial creatures could be ruled out as the cause of the light.

"I don't think it's aliens," he said.

"It's always hard to discredit aliens, but I think they would probably visit somewhere more active than Canberra coming back from holidays.

"It's probably not Photoshop either. Everything kind of fits and it seems right.

"Someone probably just got lucky, back from the holidays a little bit bored and saw an interesting storm, it's the only interesting thing going on in Canberra right now."

Forecaster Sean Carson said while he was speculating, he agreed that the light could be ball lightning.

"It's pretty amazing, no doubt about it," he said.

"There were obviously thunderstorms at the time, so lightning is all I can think of."

The ABC has contacted the person who uploaded the video to YouTube for comment.

Youtube video posted by Joanne Steen shows the event with slow motion footage included:


WATCH: Strange lights over Canberra.





- ABC Online.





PLANETARY TREMORS: An Alarming Discovery Shows San Francisco Bay Area's Two Most Dangerous Earthquake Faults May Be Connected - USGS Says "It Would Be Devastating For An Earthquake To Rupture At Both Faults"!


January 7, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Two East Bay earthquake faults long thought to be dangerous but separate may be linked in a 99-mile-long fault that could set off a much stronger quake than the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor, a federal scientist says.


As a linked fault, the two are more likely to cause a magnitude-7.2 quake, about three times stronger than the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake, which in 1989 violently shook the Bay Area, killed 63 people and caused an estimated $6 billion in damage.


The Rodgers Creek Fault runs from above Santa Rosa into San Pablo Bay near Sears Point in Sonoma County, researchers say. The Hayward Fault runs from below San Jose through the Oakland and Berkeley hills to West Contra Costa County and into San Pablo Bay.

The two faults were long thought to be about 2 miles apart under the bay, but "now it does look like there is a good chance that the faults are connected," said Janet Watt, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Santa Cruz.

She led a team that in 2014 seismically mapped the earth under San Pablo Bay. Their search produced an image of a strand linking the two faults, she said. Until then the Rodgers Creek and Hayward faults had been thought to be independent but capable of influencing each other.





"It's been a bit of a mystery because no one has been able to locate the faults in the bay before," Watt said.


A US Geological Survey map showing the Rodgers Creek Fault to the north and the Hayward Fault to the south. (USGS)

She summarized her findings at the American Geophysical Union conference last month in San Francisco and plans to publish a paper about her research. The USGS calls the Hayward-Rodgers Creek lines a "fault system" with a 31 percent likelihood of a magnitude-6.7 quake or greater in the next 30 years, the highest probability among Bay Area faults.

But the Bay Area might now have one 99-mile fault that could deliver quite a jolt -- up to 7.2 in magnitude -- because they are more likely to shift at the same time, Watt said.

Such a quake would affect millions of people and billions of dollars worth of property with widespread destruction of houses and apartments, studies show.

"You now have the potential for a larger earthquake," she said. More study is needed to confirm the findings, she added.

And quake history is important, Watt said. "There hasn't been a quake along the Hayward Fault since 1868."

"There's (geological) seismic evidence showing they may have ruptured together in 1700s or in two separate breaks within decades of each other," Watt said.

Scientists believe the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was powerful enough to relieve pressure on Bay Area faults for the following seven decades.

Now they fear the tension is mounting again. The 1989 Loma Prieta quake did little to relieve pressure on faults outside the Santa Cruz Mountains, according to the USGS.

Michael Skyler, owner of the Earthquake Supply Center in San Rafael -- well within the Hayward-Rodgers Creek quake shaking zone -- said he thinks people are more prepared than ever for the inevitable.

"We all know what we are supposed to do in terms of preparation, and more people are doing it," he said. "We are due for something soon." - CCT.