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Saturday 14 June 2014

They Paid Me To Write This - Part 2

They Paid Me To Write This - Part 2

Gunning Fog Index = 11.44

Did I really say in early May that I'd have part 2 on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station done in a few days? Well, once again I was wrong on the internet! Now that a month has gone by and I'm busier than ever, it's time to finish up this topic. I already have two new topics on the waiting list which I haven't tackled yet because I promised myself to finish this topic first.

In part 2, we are going to look at the last three out of seven assumptions which were detailed in part 1. Please go read part 1 now if you haven't already done so. You can find it at: http://blog.someonewaswrongontheinternet.com/post/2014/05/05/They-Paid-Me-To-Write-This .

The remaining assumptions are:

5. The 11 March 2011 Tohoku earthquake event was not really an earthquake but was actually a nuclear bomb explosion based on seismic signature evidence.

6. The nuclear bomb detonation was a covert act by the United States which took place in the deep sea fault where the Tohoku earthquake was alleged to have originated.

7. The secret nuclear bomb detonation by the USA is part of a plan by the Illuminati to destroy humanity and all other life.

California Slipping Into The Sea

So let's discuss earthquakes. Imagine you're in coastal California where the San Andreas is part of your life. The San Andreas Fault System includes the San Andreas itself and many parallel faults, all of which accommodate the northward motion of the Pacific Plate as it slides past the south-bound North American Plate. Here's a USGS figure that shows the tectonic plate motions around California:

SanAndreasTransform

Just give up any notions you have of California slipping into the sea – it's not going to happen, folks. What's really going on here is Los Angeles trying to move to San Francisco. It's not as crazy as it sounds. For example, there are rocks that were originally in the neighborhood of the Grapevine on I-5 that have been moved by the San Andreas Fault just north of Santa Cruz (1, 2). If you take out a ruler and measure that, you'll find a displacement of 350 km, which is around 220 miles for those of you who aren't in the habit of thinking in SI units. Mind you, at the rate that tectonic plates move, it took a while for those Grapevine-neighborhood rocks to make that commute to Sant Cruz – almost 30 million years (3).

Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay are all sitting on the northward-moving Pacific Plate. Most (but not all) of San Francisco is on the North American Plate so all those Pacific Plate cities and their suburbs are making one really slow commute towards San Francisco and points north. Other than mudslides on California's infamous steep unstable slopes, the state is in no danger of slipping into the sea.

I believe the whole “California slipping into the sea” gig comes from a book that was quite popular in its day and is still worth a read now. The book is The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California by Curt Gentry, originally published in 1967. If you've never read it, find a copy and read it – especially if you've been brought up and lived east of the Rockies all your life. It's about three quarters California history and current events from when Reagan was Governor of California mixed in with about one quarter fictional narrative of the state slipping into the Pacific Ocean. I got handed a copy the day after when I moved to Northern California from Connecticut – and for this born-and-bred blue-blooded New Englander (complete with the requisite Colonial Puritan ancestors), it really enlightened me to all things Californian – and yes, enlightened is the word I want here. It was a well-known book in its day and it's fascinating reading.

Unlike a lot of my family, I really love California. Most of my family have fixated on things that are utter weirdnesses to a New Englander: buying bottled water, concrete-lined river beds in the Los Angeles Basin, the brown-dominated landscape of Southern California and the Californian deserts, the necessity of irrigation, western-style sprawl, Botts dots. To someone accustomed to the intense green of the northeast, with its decidious forests that grow like weeds, its copious rain, its narrow winding roads and its big wide rivers, most of California is a shock. But you can't grasp California if you don't look beyond the dry landscape and the urban sprawl. That's why I recommend Gentry's book. Though I did a master's degree at Caltech in Pasadena, I didn't really begin to grok the reality of California until I read The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California. It's an entertaining read and you'll even learn something!

Well, now that we have gotten the obligatory tangential subject out of the way, you should all know by now that California is not going to sink into the ocean.

Now in order to address assumption #5, we need to inquire whether nuclear explosions and earthquakes behave the same way. If earthquakes and nuclear explosions can be distinguished, then we can test assumption 5 quickly and easily; in order to do that, however, we need to do a little seismology lesson and that's going to take up a lot of column inches – but the result will be worth the while. So please stick with me while I cram a couple weeks of intro seismology into your brains. I won't invoke any nasty math so you should be able to follow the science even if you did bomb multi-variable calculus.

Strike and Dip

The plate tectonic motion between the Pacific and North American Plates is that of two plates sliding past each other. Geologists call this sort of motion “strike-slip.” That's a funny term, isn't it? It makes more sense if you know what strike is to a geologist. In geology, strike is the direction of the line formed by the intersection of a fault, bed, or other planar feature and a horizontal plane. Now I don't usually try to push the readership into picking up concepts that are specialist knowledge in one narrow subject, but I'm going to make an exception for strike. If you really want to understand the difference between an earthquakle and a nuclear bomb explosion, you need to wrap your brain cells around the concept of strike.

Strike is really easy if you're into alpine skiiing. A horizontal traverse on skis travels along the strike of the ski slope.

traverse.png

If you don't ski, then just think of strike as a direction. Any planar feature in three dimensions can be uniquely described using strike and dip – which is why strike is so popular with geology types. If you've ever noticed inclined rock beds in a road cut, then be assured those rock beds have been mapped by a geologist and strike was used in their description. Look at the following diagram:

strike.png

Here are some inclined rock beds. The horizontal line is strike and the angle that the beds make with the horizontal is the dip. This system of describing planar features in space works at all scales and for all kinds of rocks and landforms. It works for the rock beds in the above diagram and for slopes like the diagram below. If you put a skier traveling along the strike line on that slope, it should be easy to see that strike here is once again the skier's horizontal traverse.

armycorpengin.png

Strike-slip and Dip-slip Faults.

Please look at the diagram below:

graben.png

In this figure, the earth moves in a way that pulls geological strata apart. This is extension. At some point, the stresses pulling on the rocks will exceed the rocks' ability to stretch and they will break apart. The down-dropped block is called a graben, which is a vocabulary word you will seldom find outside of geology. The only other use for the word graben that I know of is that it's the name of one of the two main drags through the center of Vienna's first district, where all the fancy stores are congregated next to Vienna's cathedral, the Stephansdom. It's not important to know what a graben is though you may get some mileage out of it if you remember it and use it at the next cocktail party you go to.

A graben is not the only form you can get from extension. Half-grabens are also common:

halfgraben.gif

One can find half-grabens throughout the Rockies and the tectonically-active Basin and Range, which is the region of extension between the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and the Sierra Nevada in California. Salt Lake City is built on a half-graben formed by motions on the active Wasatch Fault.

wasatch2_isu.jpg

On the above diagram of Salt Lake City, the fault plane dips to the west though the strike of the fault is a horizintal line oriented approximately north-south. Motions on the Wasatch Fault are up and down on the inclined fault plane. Since these motions occur parallel to the direction of the dip, this kind of fault is categorized as a dip-slip fault. Dip-slip faults can also form from compression, where one side of the fault overrides the other. The three types of dip-slip faults are shown below:

dip-slip-types.jpg

Not all fault motions are dip-slip. The direction of fault displacement can also be parallel to strike as seen in the following figure. It's a no-brainer that these sort of faults are categorized as strike-slip faults. The most famous of all strike-slip faults is the San Andreas.

strike-slip-figure.jpg

Most fault motions are not perfectly up-and-down or horizontal; most dip-slip motions include a bit of strike-slip and most strike-slip motions include a bit of dip-slip. Faults where both dip-slip and strike-slip occur in near equal amounts are called oblique-slip faults.

Let's review what we know so far: faults are planar features where rocks on one side have moved with respect to the rocks on the other side. The motion along a fault is along strike (strike-slip) or along dip (dip-slip) or both (oblique-slip). What I've laid out here is only the bare minimum needed for this blog. The USGS has a nice s review webpage on this stuff at http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/parks/deform/gfaults.html (accessed 12 June 2014) and American River College has good detailed webpage you can refer to at http://web.arc.losrios.edu/~borougt/GeologicStructuresDiagrams.htm (accessed 10 June 2014).

Earthquake Ground Motions

Before we get too deep into earthquakes and their ground motion, we need to discuss P waves. Every earthquake event creates several different kinds of ground motions. For our purposes here we are going to ignore everything but the first motion recorded on seismometers. The first motion of an earthquake wave train is a longitudinal wave which is either a compression or a dilation. It's called a P wave because it's the first or primary motion you felt or recorded during a seismic event. Though it's not the most energetic part of an earthquake wavetrain, the information we get from the P wave will tell us what kind of earthquake we're dealing with as well as the orientation and location of the fault involved.

Earthquakes involve relative motions between two sides of a fault. This two-sided motion on a fault plane means we are dealing with something called a stress couple. It's useful to look at how a stress couple works along a strike-slip fault like the San Andreas.

compress-dilation.jpg

In the above diagram, which is a map view of a strike-slip fault, the stresses on either side of the fault are equal and opposite. Let's make the top of the map north and the bottom south for the sake of convenience. Since we're looking at the ground from above in our map view, all we can see of the fault is its strike which is a line oriented approximately north-south. If the fault is locked rather than actively creeping – as discussed in part 1 of this blog post - then stress will build up on either side of the fault plane until it breaks, resulting in a sudden displacement. On the left side of the fault, the sudden motion sends a compressional wave (a push) northward and a dilational wave (a pull) southward. The motion is the opposite on the right side of the fault where a compression wave travels southward and a dilation wave travels northward. These seismic waves are technically acoustic waves, i.e. waves which compress or stretch molecules as they travel. A useful analogy is light: if these waves were light waves instead, then an observer to the south would see the left side as red shifted and the right side blue-shifted.

We can make a diagram of these opposing wave pairs by drawing a circle in map view and coloring compressions black and dilations white:

strikeslipbeachball.jpg

The result is a quatered circle in map view with alternating black and white quarters.

Instead of a strike-slip fault, let's look at the motion of a thrust fault. In the figure below, we're looking at a cross-section of the earth where there's a thrust fault.

thrust-fault-beachball.jpg

The two sides of the fault are being pushed together such that the rocks on the left are being thrust on top of the rocks on the right. When an earthquake occurs, the overthrust rocks on top of the fault are compressed since we're squeezing them after all. Once again, the rocks that see a compressional wave are colored black and the rocks that see a dilation are colored white. If we superimpose a circle around the fault, we see a similar pattern of black and white quarters like the ones we saw for the strike-slip fault. Now the quartered-circle diagram for the strike-slip fault was a map view of the fault but here we see the quartered circle in a cross-sectional view for the thrust fault. What's important is that both these views are perpendicular to the plane of the fault. No matter how the fault plane is oriented in the ground, if you look at a fault perpendicular to the fault plane, you will always see this pattern of a quartered black-and-white circle of compression and dilation from an earthquake.

Here's the sticking point: earthquake motions are recorded at the earth's surface, which may or may not be perpendicular to the fault plane with its nice stress-couple quartered pattern of compressions and dilations. What we actually measure in the real world is the response of seismometers on the ground during an earthquake. So we need to know what the pattern of compression and dilation looks like on the ground in map view for different fault types. That's not hard to do. In the thrust fault figure, I've indicated in the cross-sectional view where compression and dilation occur at the earth's surface. In the bottom half of the figure, I have plotted the areas of compress and dilation using an overhead map-view circular diagram similar to one for strike-slip faults.

This next figure, below, shows the same thing, except this time we're looking at a “normal” fault, not a thrust fault.

normal-fault-beachball.jpg

A normal fault is the kind of fault you get when you're pulling the ground apart in extension. Why these aren't called extension faults is a mystery. I've been doing geology professionally for most of my life and I have never quite figured out why extensional faults are called normal faults. Go figure.

Regardless, for an earthquake caused by extensional stress, you again get a quartered circle in the cross-sectional view - which is the view perpendicular to the fault plane – except the quarters switch places so dilation is on top. In the beach ball-like overhead-view circle diagram, the colors flip again showing that the ground immediately above the earthquake is in dilation - which is what you'd expect when you pull things apart.

The take-home nugget here is that regardless of the orientation of a fault, the paired compressions and dilations of earthquake motions are the signature of a stress couple. This seismic signature is important for dealing with assumption #5, which will become apparent as soon as we tackle the seismic behavior of explosions.

If you followed all of that, then you now know more than most people on the planet about earthquakes and how scientists plot and display them.

Beach Ball Plots

Here's a nice summary figure from the USGS on beach ball plots and how they relate to earthquakes on the different types of faults we discussed. I should mention that structural geologists do make a distinction between thrust faults which have shallow-dipping fault planes and reverse faults which are thrust faults with steeply-dipping fault planes. But I'm a lazy borehole geophysicist and volcanic stratigrapher and I tend to get a little sloppy about such terminology.

beachball-usgs.gif

Now that every one reading my blog is an expert on reading seismic beach ball plots, here are some real world examples:

ncal-focal-mech.jpg

The figure above is a map of the California central coast and the Bay Area to the north. Other than the coastline, the black lines on the map are the San Andreas plus its splays and other major strike-slip faults in the San Andreas Fault System. While the San Andreas if the biggest baddest strike-slip fault in this hemisphere, it doesn't take all of the motion between the North America and Pacific plates. The subsidiary faults in the San Andreas system include the Hayward Fault, the Calaveras Fault, the Elsinore and San Jacinto Faults down by Los Angeles, and the Walker Lane-East California seismic zone just to name the major faults. There are many other smaller parallel faults in the San Andreas Fault System which would take up too much space if I listed them all. The point is that while the San Andreas Fault is the actual plate boundary, the motion between the plates is spread across a region that is actually tens of kilometers wide.

You should notice that most of the beach ball plots of past earthquakes in California show that distinctive quartered-circle pattern associated with strike-slip motion. This is not surprise since the San Andreas and subsidiary faults are strike-slip faults. In addition, I can spot 7 earthquake focal mechanisms which a compressional signature and 2 with extensional signatures. Since there are compressional ridges and mountains plus some pull-apart basins along the San Andreas and related faults, seeing some compressional and extensional events is not at all strange.

Now before we embark on a discussion of the Tohoku-Oki earthquake, I'm going to pause briefly to point out that any earthquake magnitude you read about in the news in NOT measured on the Richter Scale. The Richter Scale is obsolete and hasn't been used for decades. The problem is that journalists and the general public aren't aware of this. I've written a blog post on this very subject since it's a pet peeve of mine, which you can peruse if you want at http://blog.someonewaswrongontheinternet.com/post/2013/03/25/It-s-Not-The-Richter-Scale%21

Now let's look at the focal mechanism for the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake that was responsible for the tsunami which flooded the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The Japan Meteorological Agency, which publishes all of Japan's official earthquake info, described the earthquake as a “Reverse fault type with WNW-ESE compressional axis,” which was sited at 38° 6.2′ N, 142° 51.6′ E 130 km offshore at a depth of 24 km with a magnitude of 9.0 on the Mw scale (4). The USGS placed the Tohoku-Oki earthquake at 38.308° N, 142.383° E, with a magnitude 9.0 on the Mw scale (5), at a depth of 30 km (6). Here's a look at the USGS focal mechanism solution from (5):

11/03/11 05:46:23.82
Epicenter: 38.308 142.383
MW 9.0

USGS CENTROID MOMENT TENSOR
11/03/11 05:47:47.20

Principal axes:
T Val= 4.57 Plg=58 Azm=306
N -0.05 5 208
P -4.52 32 115

Best Double Couple:Mo=4.5*10**22

NP1:Strike= 29 Dip=77 Slip=  95
NP2: 187 14 68

tohoku.png

The USGS calculated that:

“the fault moved upwards of 30-40 m, and slipped over an area approximately 300 km long (along-strike) by 150 km wide (in the down-dip direction). The rupture zone is roughly centered on the earthquake epicenter along-strike, while peak slips were up-dip of the hypocenter, towards the Japan Trench axis (7)."

One group of researchers (8) calculated that the timing and propagation of the fault motion took approximately 100 seconds from start to finish, which if you know anything about earthquakes is an amazing number, a lot longer than your usual garden-variety California magnitude 7. The 1989 7.0 Mw Loma Prieta earthquake took 7 seconds as did the 1994 6.7 Mw Northridge earthquake; the 1983 7.0 Mw Borah Peak earthquake lasted 9 second and the 1992 7.3 Mw Landers earthquake took a long 24 seconds (9).

I need to be honest here and admit to a little slight-of-hand since if you look up duration for the handful of other really absurdly huge earthquakes, like the 1960 Chile earthquake, you'll find the magnitude 9 earthquakes can last more than 100 seconds. Regardless, the duration of the rare magnitude 9+ events puts your everyday ho-hum California magnitude 7 quake to shame. One hundred seconds for the Tohoku-Oki event is still a mega-big number for an earthquake. The Japan Meteorological Agency says that it is the largest earthquake recorded in Japan ever (4).

The Energy of the Tohoku-Oki Earthquake

We can calculate the seismic moment Mo, i.e. the work done by an earthquake (in Joules), using the seismic moment equation (10):

Mo = µAD , where µ is the shear modulus in Pascals, A is the area in square meters of the fault plane that slipped, and D is the the slip amount in meters.

How much energy is a Joule? A lit 100 watt light bulb uses 100 joules of energy per second. A 1000 watt microwave uses 1000 joules per second to reheat your leftovers. Picking an orange off the floor and putting it on an adjacent table is approximately 1 joule of work. One joule is not very much. What's a lot of energy in joules? Your average bolt of lightning carries approximately 5 billion joules of electricity - that's a lot energy!

To calculate how much energy was expended by the Tohoku-Oki earthquake, we will use the seismic moment equation. We will use 3 giga-pascals for the shear modulus of rocks in the deep crust, 300 km by 150 km for the area (after converting to square meters) and 30 m for the displacement. After we plug in the numbers and crunch, we get:

Mo = 4.050 E+22 Joules

If you're not familiar or comfortable with scientific notation of large numbers, we can write the quantity out as:

Mo = 40 500 000 000 000 000 000 000 Joules. Now that's a lot of energy! If we expressed this energy in units of lightning bolts, the energy expended by the Tohoku-Oki earthquake is approximately equal to 8 trillion lightning strikes.

Just to double check our numbers, the relationship between seismic moment Mo and the Mw magnitude scale is:

Mw= 2/3 log(Mo) – 10.7

Unfortunately, the above Mw equation is in ergs, not Joules; however, the conversion between Joules and ergs is easy since 1 joule is 1E+07 ergs, so 4.050E+22 Joules is 4.050E+29 ergs. Now we can plug and crunch and the answer is:

Mw = 9.03 - so now we know that the USGS seismologists in ref #7 did their calculations correctly!

The Behavior of Explosions, Nuclear or Otherwise

In terms of stress, explosions are rather simple beasts, much simpler than the double couples of earthquakes with their paired lobes of compression and dilation in three dimensions. The thing that characterizes explosions is the uniform rapid expansion of a material, either through chemical conversion, phase conversion or through combustion or some combination thereof. You don't necessarily have to have heat involved to have an explosion, but thanks to Hollywood, most people have the sight of great burning balls of expanding gases stuck in their heads as the epitome of things that go boom.

Forget all those dramatic fireballs. It's the sudden expansion of material that makes an explosion. Now if you've ever watched aerial fireworks, which are nothing more than cosmetically-pretty explosions at altitude, it should be no surprise to you that exploding materials expand in all directions simultaneously. You've seen this happen every time fireworks go off. If no significant external forces act on the exploding material, then the expansion is a perfect spherical wavefront of compression. Here's a YouTube link to a really wonderful short video where you can see the spherical shock wave of an explosion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq5TSs-yX0g

As someone who used to sneak off into the woods after high school let out and blow stuff up, I find videos like this are salve to my nerdly soul! Now the video you just watched only shows the upper half a compression sphere because we can't see the compression wave travel in the ground. To get a feel for an unimpeded spherical wavefront from an explosion, here's a short video clip of several upper atmosphere nuclear explosions at altitudes greater than 80 km:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uQwbDLBUJc

It doesn't matter if an explosion happens surrounded by water, air, the vacuum of space or deep in the ground: so long as the explosion is surrounded by a uniform material, fluid or solid, the first energy felt and recorded will be a compression that expands in all directions equally as a spherical waveform. Now, if you bury a bomb in the earth and then surround that bomb by seismometers, every seismometer will record a positive P wave as the spherical compression wavefront travels past. There are several different things that distinguish explosions from earthquakes, like the rapid decay of energy and much higher frequency content, but the initial arrival of that positive P wave (i.e., a compression) expanding out in all directions is the biggie. If you used a “beachball” diagram to record compressions and dilations associated with an explosion, the “beach ball” would be completely black. Why? Because every first arrival of the expanding compression wave would be positive. That's the most distinctive seismic signature of any explosion.

During my short time at the Seismology Lab at Caltech many decades ago, there was a set of old fashioned seismograph drums in the hallway outside the instrument rooms where all the telemetered data was recorded for the Southern California Seismic Network. They were a popular spot to linger because one could hang out and watch earthquakes as they happened in real time. Everyone always knew when there was an underground test of a nuclear bomb at the Nevada Test Site because every first arrival P-wave arrival on the seismograph drums was positive no matter where the receiving seismic station was located. The same principal applied for quarry blasts out at a quarry south of Riverside in San Bernadino County, except the explosions were much smaller so the positive P waves only showed up on a handful of seismic stations.

By now, I expect folks have already figured out that assumption #5 is false because the seismic signature recorded for the Tohoku-Oki earthquake has the stress couple signature for a thrusting event on a beach ball plot. If a nuclear bomb blast was being mistaken for as an earthquake, then the beach ball plots would be uniformly black because every first arrival P wave on all the seismometers would be positive due to expanding compressive wavefront in all directions. An experienced interpreter of seismic waveforms would likely recognize some of the other telltale signs of an explosion like the higher frequency content and the rapid decay of seismic energy. Compared to explosions, nuclear or otherwise, earthquakes - especially big ones - have some distinctive and well-known low frequency waves like the 20-second surface waves. Earthquake wavetrains do not quickly decay like explosions do; instead, the waves that follow the first arrival P wave are much larger and much higher in energy compared to the first-arrival P waves.

The Energy Released by Nuclear Bombs

One can make a good case that the Tohoku-Oki earthquake was a true fault displacement event on a deep thrust fault based on the pattern of paired compressions and dilations recorded worldwide; however, there is another line of evidence in support of earthquake activity based on the energy released of this magnitude 9.0 event. We've already dicussed how much energy was involved in the Tohoku-Oki earthquake based on the energy expended to move a 300 by 150 km area of a fault plane in a thrusting motion of 30 m displacement, i.e. 4.050 E+22 Joules, or if you prefer, 8 trilion lightning strikes. The question we need to look at now is how this earthquake energy compares to the explosive force of nuclear bombs.

The bible in the English language on nuclear bombs effects is The Effects of Nuclear Weapons by Glasstone and Dolan (11); and the conversion for joules to nuclear yield found therein is 1 kiloton yield equals 4.18 E+12 Joules. The largest nuclear bomb design ever built was the Soviet 100 megaton “Tsar Bomba” which was tested in 1961 using a down-graded lead tamper tertiary stage to limit the yield to 50 magatons (12). Even the reduced-yield version of the Tsar Bomba design had measurable physical effects as far as 1000 km away. A 50 megaton nuclear bomb is 50000 times larger than 1 kiloton, so the energy release of such a weapon would be 50000 x 4.18 E+12 Joules = 2.09E+17 Joules. This is a far cry from the seismic moment of 4.05E+22 Joules for the Tohoku-Oki Earthquake. In fact, if we plug the nuclear yield energy into the moment magnitude equation, the result is Mw = 5.5. Now a 5.5 magnitude earthquake is not exactly trivial and can do a great deal of damage to houses, masonry, dishes and bookshelves not bolted to house frames – but it's no Tohoku-Oki with its near 30000 death toll and entire towns being swept away.

The bottom line here is that no known nuclear weapon can match the huge energy release of the Tohoku-Oki earthquake, making this a second line of evidence that the nuclear bomb allegation of assumption #5 is false.

Planting Nuclear Bombs in Faults

Assumption #6 is that the alleged nuclear bomb from assumption #5 was planted in the “deep sea fault” associated with the Tohoku-Oki earthquake. This is very easy to disprove. The deepest boreholes to date are the Soviet Kola corehole project drilled in 1994 to a measured depth of 12262 m (13); the Qatar Al Shaheen oil well drilled in 2008 to a measured depth of 12289 m; and the Exxon Neftegas Sakhalin-I offshore oil well in the Okhotsk Sea, drilled in 2011 to a measured depth of 12345 m (14). There seems to be a depth limit for boreholes which varies between ~9000 m and the current maximum depth of 12345 m. This limit is imposed by borehole temperatures and current drill bit technology because drill bits will perform poorly at temperatures over 250° C and will fail to cut at temperatures in excess of 300° C.

Given the current state-of-the-art for drill bits, it's safe to say that ~12 km is the practical limit for drilling depth. There is no drill rig on Earth right now that can reach the published depths of 24 to 30 km for the Tohoku-Oki earthquake. Assumption #6 is false because drilling a hole 24 km deep is currently impossible.

Illuminati Plot to End All Life on Earth

Assumption #7 alleges that a USA nuke placed in the Tohoku-Oki earthquake fault is part of a plot by the Illuminati to destroy life on Earth as we know it. This allegation can be refuted on the grounds of self-interest. Destroying life on Earth would also destroy the Illuminati themselves and no one in their right mind would do that. Evil masterminds plot to take over the world, not destroy it, though frankly it's even doubtful that the Illuminati really exist.

Of course it is possible that the Illuminati paid me to write this as a smoke screen to conceal their evil plans. In such a case, it would be part of my strategy to obscure all Illuminati goals with this reasonable-looking blog post. You'll just have to believe me when I assert that there is no Illumnati plot behind the Tohoku-Oki earthquake. The sudden increase in my bank balance is really from seling off some excess property for the business that I own and manage. The Illuminati have nothing to do with the sudden infusion of money into my checking account. You believe me, right?

Parting Shots About Tsunami Size

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station had a protective berm around reactor units 1 through 4 to prevent flooding by ocean surges. The Tsunami height on 11 March 2011 at Fukushima was 14 m which flowed over the 10 m berm to swamp all the emergency diesel generators.

It's known that the Mw 8.6 earthquake of March 2, 1933 produced tsunami waves along the coast of Japan that were as high as 29 m. In light of the known and documented 1933 tsunami height of 29 m, what kind of funny green tobacco were the TEPCO facility designers smoking when they used a berm height of just 10 m? Somebody blew it big time when designing that inadequate berm.

References

All websites were accessed on 10 June 2014 unless stated otherwise.

  1. Dibblee, T. W., Jr. (1966), Evidence for cumulative offset on the San Andreas fault in central and northern California, in Bailey, E. H., Ed.:Geology of northern California, California Div of Mines and Geol. Bull. 190, p. 375-384.
  2. Hill, M. L., and Dibblee, T. W., Jr. (1953), San Andreas, Garlock, and Big Pine fualts, California – A study of the character, history, and tectonic significance of their displacements: Geol. Soc of Am. Bull., v. 64, p. 443-458.
  3. Atwater, Tanya, 1970, Implications of plate tectonics for the Cenozoic tectonic evolution of western North America. Bull. Geol. Soc. Amer., v. 81, p. 3513-3536.
  4. Japan Meteorological Agency, http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/en /2011_Earthquake/Information_on_2011_Earthquake.html
  5. U.S. Geological Survey, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes /eqinthenews/2011/usc0001xgp/neic_c0001xgp_cmt.php
  6. U.S. Geological Survey, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes /eqinthenews/2011/usc0001xgp/#details
  7. U.S. Geological Survey, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes /eqinthenews/2011/usc0001xgp/#summary
  8. Ide, S., Baltay, A., and Beroza, G. C. (17 June 2011), Shallow Dynamic Overshoot and Energetic Deep Rupture in the 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake. Science 17 : 332 (6036), p. 1426-1429. Also published online pn 19 May 2011: DOI:10.1126/science.1207020
  9. Earthquake Country, http://www.earthquakecountry.org/roots4/measuring.html
  10. U.S. Geological Survey, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/measure.php
  11. Glasstone, S., and Dolan, P. eds., The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 3rd ed. U.S. Department of Defense & U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration, 1977, Table 1.45, p. 13.
  12. Sublette, C. (2007), Nuclear Weapon Archive: Tsar Bomba, http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/TsarBomba.html, accessed 11 June 2014.
  13. International Continental Drilling Project, http://www-icdp.icdp-online.org/front_content.php?idcat=695
  14. Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole

Monday 5 May 2014

They Paid Me To Write This - Part 1

Gunning Fog Index = 12.75

Today's target for someone being wrong on the internet is really special! It's so special that I have to share the entirety of today's target first before diving in and analyzing its various statements. I know that writing the commentary on today's target is going to be difficult so I will beg some indulgence in advance for any uncalled for sarcasm, irony, parody, satire or condescension in which I might inadvertantly engage. I feel I must say this upfront and in advance just because today's target is just that special.

It's also apparent to me that I'm going to have to break my commentary into two parts, because there's really that much to say. The normal amount of arm waving isn't going to suffice this time around. What you're reading now is the first of two parts.

Today's offering is from a blog website whose URL is fukushimaupdate.com. The offering itself is from the comments following a blog post (1) on the alleged sinking of the building housing Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 4. I was thinking of writing a post on the alleged subsidence of the Reactor 4 Building until I found today's target in the comments that followed. I suspect I might return to the Reactor 4 sinking sometime in the future but I think you will agree with me that the subject of today's blog post really should take precedence here. After all, I do think it is of the upmost importance to give my readership my considered and dispassionate determination as to whether the Illuminati are really trying to destroy Mother Earth.

So here's the comment (2) by one "Astraelia" on 24 Oct 2012 to the Reactor 4 subsidence blog post on fukishimaupdate.com. Since we may be dealing with the potential destruction of life as we know it, I urge you all to read this comment carefully and reflect on this might imply for our future existence our planet:

FUKUSHIMA – the SECRET TRUTH: A ILLUMINATI SABOTAGE OPERATION IN THE ENGINEERING OF THE GENERAL ELECTRIC DESIGNED REACTORS. These GE General electric reactor design is from the USA, and was BUILT TO FAIL on the event of an emergency that required to urgently cool the nuclear reactor. All the safety valves where non operational by design, and could not be activated when after the Tsunami, the operators tried to cool down the nuclear core. It is not ignorance or incompetence, but systemic, on purpose technical sabotage from the conceptors of this USA General Electric nuclear generator. The emergency cooling valves engineering have been covertly manipulated to neutralize all attempts of opening these cooling valves to lower the temperature of the nuclear reactor in an overheating emergency scenario. There is 30 others such nuclear bombs plants in Japan, and over 30 in the USA. Over that, almost all nuclear plants have been located on purpose on seismic fault lines. The seismic signature of this earthquake does not correspond in any manner to the profile of earthquakes, but exhibit the exact profile of a nuclear explosion. This proves that it was not of natural origin, but was the result of a US covert operation of exploding a nuclear bomb right inside the deep sea seismic fault line. Almost ALL the Nuclear Plants in the world have been built ON PURPOSE on seismic fault lines. It is a concerted plan of destruction of humanity & life by the enemies of life that have taken complete covert control of our ancient paradise planet. The Illuminati have put these time bombs disguised as nuclear reactors all around the world with this on purpose secret technical sabotage.

I'm not making this up, you know. This is a real comment on a real blog and I can prove it! If I created the above comment text myself as a gag, I would have created the website, website blog contents and blog commentary and then would have posted about the above commentary on April 1. First, if you run the whois command on the URL, you will find that the website does not belong to me, which is proof #1. Second, today's date is not April 1, demonstrating that this is not another of my infamous and elaborate April Fools gags, like the journal article I created on the discovery of pages from Dr. Dee's copy of The Necronomicon in the Vatican's Secret Archives (3), so this is proof #2. The blog comment is real, I kid y'all not!

Let's just pause for a moment to define the one essential abbreviation for today's blog post. The abbreviation is "BWR" which stands for "boiling water reactor." Most commercial reactor designs in use in the United States and Japan are in a design class known as "light water reactors," which are further divided into BWRs and "pressurized water reactors," or PWRs for short. In case you're wondering about why this design category is called "light water reactors," it's because there's also a design class known as "heavy water reactors" which use deuterium-rich water, which is also known as heavy water since the deuterium isotope of hydrogen is twice as heavy as normal hydrogen. A early popular reactor design used in Canada was known as the Canadian Deuterium reactor or "CANDU" reactor. But we can save discussion of different reactor designs for some other day. Now back to today's topic...

It is apropos at this point to make a list of the various claims alleged in the above blog commentary. Those allegations are:

  1. All safety valves were designed to be non-operational in the event of an emergency where cooling the reactors was necessary in order to halt or prevent overheating.
  2. The design of the built-to-fail safety valves was a covert act of sabotage by General Electric, the United States-based vendor of the reactor designs used at Fukushima Daiichi.
  3. There are 30 reactors with these built-to-fail safety valves in Japan and over 30 in the United States.
  4. Almost all nuclear electric power generation stations worldwide have been intentionally sited directly on top of seismic fault lines.
  5. The 11 March 2011 Tohoku earthquake event was not really an earthquake but was actually a nuclear bomb explosion based on seismic signature evidence.
  6. The nuclear bomb detonation was a covert act by the United States which took place in the deep sea fault where the Tohoku earthquake was alleged to have originated.
  7. The secret nuclear bomb detonation by the USA is part of a plan by the Illuminati to destroy humanity and all other life.

Let's now look at each of the claims that were made and consider them rationally. Since this is part one of two parts, today's blog post will deal with allegations one through four. Part two, which will follow in a few days, will deal with allegations five through seven. Allegation five is going to take some hard explaining, complete with lots of beach balls - no, really - and that will take a bit of work to put together.beach balls

Seriously, there will be pictures of beach balls, I kid you not. Discussing the science of earthquakes vs. explosions requires lots and lots of beach balls. Serious seismicity means serious beach balls. And maybe even one or two pictures of jello. I learned this at the Seismo Lab at Caltech. No kidding. I'm 100% on the level here. I'll even post a picture of my diploma from Caltech if needed. But you're going to have to wait for part two...

One: Built-to-Fail Safety Valves

This claim is actually easy to dismiss. When the Tohoku earthquake happened on 11 March 2011, Japan's reactors all had early earthquake warning systems which successfully shut down all the operating reactors in the country, including reactors 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi; reactors 4, 5 and 6 were already offline for maintenance operations (4). All the valves on all the cooling cycle circulation systems worked as designed despite the loss of electric power from the grid: Fukushima Daiichi had back-up diesel generators which fired up and started producing power as designed when grid power was lost. Those diesel generators worked flawlessly right up until the tsunami arrived approximately an hour later. The tsunami swamped the diesel generators and their power distribution control panels, and all power and control was lost. Without electricity, the reactor operators could not operate the pumps and valves of the cooling systems, which is the contributing cause of the nuclear accidents that followed over the next few days. The valves worked as designed. The nuclear accidents did not happen because of an alleged covert design flaw in the Fukushima valves, but rather because the idiots who designed the inadequate seawall and oceanside reactor buildings went and placed the emergency diesel generators and their power distribution panels in basements that were flooded by the tsunami. The seawall between reactors 1 through 4 and the ocean was 10 meters high; the maximum tsunami height at Fukushima Daiichi was 14 meters (4).

Actually, of the 12 emergency diesel generators at Fukushima Daiichi, one actually stayed operation and was responsible for keeping reactors 5 and 6 cool and safe by providing electricity to run the pumps and valves and such. That's because someone had the brains to locate it on the top floor of the building for reactor 6, not the basement. It and its electric distribution control panel didn't get flooded and so never failed.

I am tempted to say that one should never attribute to vast international conspiracies for world destruction circumstances which can be simply explained by incompetence - but that would be way too sarcastic for the dispassionate and objective tone I would like to maintain on this blog, so I won't.

Two: GE Covertly Designed Valves To Fail

Again, this claim is also easy to dismiss on the grounds that after the earthquake and loss of grid power, the valves and the rest of the coolant circulation systems operated as designed up until the loss of the emergency diesel generators. Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 through 4 were damaged because the tsunami flooded the diesel generators (4). Valve design had nothing to do with the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Three: 30 Japanese reactors and >30 American reactors have built-to-fail valves

The author of today's target wasn't clear about which reactors have covertly flawed valves. I'm going to extrapolate and assume the author was writing about all GE-designed BWRs, not just the Fukushima ones. The numbers alleged by the author then make sense if the author believes all GE BWRs have built-to-fail valves. The author's numbers are approximately correct: there are 31 GE-designed BWRs in Japan, of which 25 are operating and the 6 at Fukushima Daiichi are either damaged and shutdown (5). There are 45 BWRs in the US at 33 power stations, of which 35 are operating, 4 are dismantled and 6 are mothballed (5). While the author implies these additional BWRs have built-to-fail valves, there is reason to doubt this since the author was already wrong about the valves at Fukushima Daiichi.

Four: Almost All Reactors Are Sited On Top Of Seismic Fault Lines

I think we have to begin here by looking at the author's implicit assumptions apparent in the above claim. I opine that there are two such implicit assumptions and believe that they reveal more about the author's ignorance about science than anything else. The implicit assumptions seem to be that all faults are active and that all active faults are capable of building-destroying earthquakes. Neither of these is true.

Faults are roughly planar features where the earth materials on either side of the fault have moved with respect to one another. The amount of that motion is termed "fault displacement." Opposing forces on either side of a fault determine how much fault displacement takes place. Large forces, like those found at tectonic plate boundaries, cause large fault displacements, and smaller forces, like the ones seen when a reservoir is filled or ground subsidence occurs, cause smaller displacements. But not all fault displacements cause earthquakes. Earthquakes occur when fault displacement occurs all at once - but some fault displacements occur continuously and never cause the jarring catastrophic ground motions of earthquakes. Continuous fault motion is called seismic creep and if you live in the Bay Area of California, you can find several places locally where you can actually observe fault displacement due to seismic creep along the Hayward Fault, like three houses down from the house I lived in north of Berkeley.

Earthquakes, the sudden displacement of ground on either side of active faults, happen when faults lock up and seismic slip is prevented. This happens because faults are planar only to a first approximation. In reality, most fault surfaces have irregularities and there's a lot static friction present on a lot of fault surfaces which prevents peaceful seismic slip. For a locked-up fault to move, the forces on either side of fault have to overcome the static friction present in the fault.

Small earthquakes happen all the time and can occur just about everywhere, even far from tectonic plate boundaries, because the earth is never really still even though it may seem that way to us. For example, filling large reservoirs can set off seismic spasms of many itty bitty earthquakes for months afterward but these are usually small enough that most people aren't even aware of them. And far from active tectonic plate boundaries, the mostly stable strata of continental interiors slip only a little along small faults or fractures due to events like subsidence from the withdrawal of oil in the ground or compaction of underlying rocks - and the small earthquakes from such ground motions are again hardly noticed except by those who actively monitor seismic networks.

You can site a nuclear reactor on top of an old inactive fault in a place where there are no strong tectonic forces acting on either side of that fault and nothing catastrophic is going to happen. Inactive means just that. Most of the mapped faults on the earth are these old inactive faults that no longer move because the stresses that originally created them are long gone. Faults do not cause earthquakes. Stresses in the earth cause earthquakes and earthquakes create faults. We shouldn't be freaking out over every little mapped fault near a reactor. Most of those faults are just scars, most of them very old. The thing to worry about is the state of stress in the ground, which is the thing that creates faults. In areas near tectonic plate boundaries, the forces that act on those plates are the big concern for reactors and any other kind of structure that will cause a disaster in failure, like petroleum storage tank farms, oil refineries, chemical plants and natural gas pipelines. Concern over faults without looking at whether an area is tectonically active is putting the cart before the horse.

To be frank, you don't even have to site a reactor on top of an active fault in a tectonically-active area to be in danger, since any nearby large earthquake will cause damaging ground motions throughout a region and not just at the surface expression of a fault. Granted, already existing faults are where earthquake displacements will most likely occur, especially in tectonically-active regions, but sometimes the forces active in the earth will create new faults where none existed before.

Basically the comment author's allegation that almost all reactors are sited on top of faults is moot because earthquake damage depends on more variables than just the surface location of a fault. (The citations for all the content of this section thus far are refs 6 and 7.)

Still, we can test the author's allegation at face value too, regardless of its lack of scientific merit as outlined immediately above. We can do so by starting with the list of BWRs and looking at their locations with respect to any nearby mapped faults or other seismic hazards. "Nearby" as I'm using the term here means within approximately 10 miles. The choice of a 10 mile proximity as "nearby" is entirely arbitrary. I picked it because it's a conventient scale for looking at the USGS seismic hazard maps.

So here's a list of BWRs listed by the nearest town to the power generation stations:

  • Browns Ferry, AL: 3 BWRs. Power plant site is located between two buried inactive faults of age >500 million year, located 2 miles and 5 miles respectively from the plant (8).
  • Brunswick, NC: 2 BWRs. No known nearby surface or buried faults though the plant is located on the perimeter of the South Carolina earthquake Quaternary liquifaction zone (9).
  • Clinton, IL: 1 BWR. No known nearby surface or buried faults (10).
  • Richland, WA: 1 BWR. No known nearby surface or buried faults (11).
  • Brownville, NE: 1 BWR. No known nearby surface or buried faults (9).
  • Morris, IL: 2 BWRs. The late Paleozoic Sandwich Fault Zone is approximately 10 miles north. This is a mostly buried fault which has not been active since before the advent of the dinosaurs (12).
  • Palo, IA: 1 BWR. No known nearby surface or buried faults (9, 13).
  • Baxley, GA: 2 BWRs, No known nearby surface or buried faults (9, 14).
  • Frenchtown Charter Township, MI: 1 BWR. No known nearby surface or buried faults (9, 15).
  • Port Gibson, MS: 1 BWR. No known nearby surface or buried faults (9).
  • Lower Alloways Creek Township, NJ: 1 BWR (next door to 2 PWRs at Salem Nuc. Power Plant). No known nearby surface or buried faults (9).
  • Oswego, NY: 3 BWRs. No known nearby surface or buried faults (9).
  • Ottawa, IL: 2 BWRs. No known nearby surface or buried faults (16).
  • Limmerick, PA: 2 BWRs. Chalfont fault approx. 10 mi ENE of reactors; splays of the Ramapo Fault System approx. 10 mi west of reactors; plus some small local faults associated with volcanic dikes within 2 to 3 miles of reactors. All faults are Jurassic to Triassic in age and have been inactive for at least the last 100 milliion years (17, 18, 19). A trend of infrequent small to moderate shallow earthquake epicenters map along the surface expression of the Ramapo Fault in New Jersey 50 to 100 km NE of the reactors and are thought to be the result of intraplate stress accommodation in the North American Plate taking place in the complex system of fractures associated with the Ramapo Fault opportunistically. It is not currently known if the trend of minor seismicity along the Ramapo Fault System may indicate that this feature might be capable of a large earthquake, which are very rare on the east coast but not unknown (20).

At this point, I'm going to end making this list of BWRs and their proximity to faults. The above list covers approximately two thirds of the all BWRs in the US. Chasing down the remaining third isn't going to change the trend that's already apparent in the data of this list: none of the above reactors are sited on top of faults and most reactors aren't even within 10 miles of a mapped fault. Testing two thirds of a sample population (in this case, of boiling water reactors) is way past the point of statistical validity. I'm pretty sure based on statistical theory that any further sampling of commercial reactors in the US will merely confirm this trend we've just seen in the data: reactors don't tend to be sited on fault lines - not that that's really germane if you followed the arguments in the previous section on why the location of a surface expression of a fault is not the issue that matters. The real issue is whether an area with a reactor is one under substantial tectonic stress, with a subsidiary issue of whether there's an active fault near a reactor that's locked up instead of seismically creeping in a area of known large tectonic stresses.

Bottom line: the author of the comment got this allegation wrong. It appears, at least if we look at US reactors, that no one is going out of their way to site reactors on top of faults. I suspect, though I have not confirmed, that a survey of reactors in other countries will show similar trends in nuclear facilities not being located on top of known fault lines, active or inactive.

In a few days, I will have part two finished, just as soon as I'm done with getting all my beach balls ready for our serious lesson on how to differentiate earthquakes from explosions. You have to wait but it will be worth it.

References

  1. Huff, E. A. (16 Oct 2012), "Ground Under Fukushima Unit 4 Sinking, Structure On Verge Of Complete Collapse," NaturalNews.com: as reposted at fukushimaupdate.com (21 Oct 2012), http://fukushimaupdate.com/ground-under-fukushima-unit-4-sinking-structure-on-verge-of-complete-collapse/, accessed 5 May 2014.
  2. Astraelia (24 Oct 2014), "Fukushima - the Secret Truth" (Commentary), http://fukushimaupdate.com/ground-under-fukushima-unit-4-sinking-structure-on-verge-of-complete-collapse/, accessed 5 May 2014.
  3. http://www.burgundianpigsinspace.com/01apr13.pdf, accessed 5 May 2014.
  4. Corrice, L. (2012), Fukushima: The First Five Days, Amazon Digital Services, ASIN B008GFLTK6. Also, http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/24-hours-at-fukushima, accessed 6 May 2014.
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boiling_water_reactors, accessed 6 May 2014.
  6. Stein, S., and M. Wysession (2002), An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes and Earth Structure, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0865420786.
  7. Richter, C. F. (1958), Elementary Seismology, W H Freeman & Co, ISBN 978-0716702115.
  8. Geological Survey of Alabama, Alabama Earthquakes, http://gsa.state.al.us/gsa/geologichazards/Quakes_AL.htm, accessed 6 May 2014.
  9. United States Geological Survey, Interactive Fault Map, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/qfaults/map/, accessed 6 May 2014.
  10. Illinois State Geological Survey, Fault Systems of Illinois and Neighboring States, http://crystal.isgs.uiuc.edu/research/earthquake-hazards/faults-in-il-big.shtml, accessed 6 May 2014.
  11. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Fault Map: Open File Report 80-02, http://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/ger_ofr80-2_washington_faults_1000k.pdf, accessed 6 May 2014.
  12. Kolata, Buschbach and Treworgy (1978), The Sandwich Fault Zone of Northern Illinois, Illinois State Geological Survey Circular 505, https://archive.org/stream/sandwichfaultzon505kola#page/22/mode/2up, accessed 6 May 2014.
  13. United States Geological Survey, Iowa Seismic Hazards Map, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/iowa/hazards.php, accessed 6 May 2014. Also Iowa Geological Survey, Bedrock Map of Iowa, ftp://ftp.igsb.uiowa.edu/igspubs/pdf/ofm-2010-01.pdf, accessed 6 May 2014.
  14. United States Geological Survey, Georgia Geology, http://mrdata.usgs.gov/sgmc/ga.html, accessed 6 May 2014.
  15. Bricker, D. M. (1977), Seismic Disturbances in Michigan, Michigan Natural Resources Circular 14, http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/GIMDL-CR14_216127_7.PDF, accessed 6 May 2014.
  16. Illinois State Geological Survey, Faults in Illinois, http://crystal.isgs.uiuc.edu/research/earthquake-hazards/images/faults_in_Illinois.gif, accessed 6 May 2014.
  17. Glaeser, J. D., 1966, Provenance, dispersal, and depositional environments of Triassic sediments in the Newark-Gettysburg basin: Pennsylvania Geological Survey, 4th ser., General Geology Report 43, http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_016399.zip, accessed 6 May 2014.
  18. Schlische, R. W., Geology of the Newark Basin, http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~schlisch/103web/Newarkbasin/NB_frame.html, accessed 6 May 2014.
  19. Ibid., geologic map of Newark Basin in NY, NJ and PA, http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~schlisch/103web/Newarkbasin/NBMap_simple_lg.jpg, accessed 6 May 2014.
  20. http://www.earth.columbia.edu/news/2004/story04-30-04b.html, accessed 6 May 2014.