Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine

The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.

  • by Emerging Technology from the arXiv
  • July 19, 2018

Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball.

Atmospheric tests ended in 1980, when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet. One of the most obvious signatures is cesium-137, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium-235.

After release into the atmosphere, cesium-137 was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities. Such an addition is rarely welcomed. But in 2001, the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.

The technique immediately became a useful weapon in the fight against wine fraud—labeling young wines as older vintages to inflate their price. Such fraud can be spotted by various types of chemical and isotope analysis—but only after the wine has been opened, which destroys its value.

Cesium-137, on the other hand, allows noninvasive testing because it is radioactive. It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present. Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud. Indeed, if there is no cesium-137, the wine must date from after 1980.

There is one blip in this record, though. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 bathed much of Europe, and other parts of the world, in a radioactive cloud that increased atmospheric levels of cesium-137 again. Hubert and colleagues can see this blip in their data from wines.

And that raises an interesting question about the Fukushima disaster of 2011, an accident of Chernobyl proportions caused by a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following a huge earthquake and tsunami. It released a radioactive cloud that bathed North America in fissile by-products.

Is it possible to see the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in California wines produced at the time?

Today we get an answer, thanks to a study carried out by Hubert and a couple of colleagues. “In January 2017, we came across a series of Californian wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) from vintage 2009 to 2012,” say Hubert and company.

This set of wines provides the perfect test. The Fukushima disaster occurred on March 11, 2011. Any wine made before that date should be free of the effects, while any dating from afterward could show them.

The team began their study with the conventional measurement of cesium-137 levels in the unopened bottles. That showed levels to be indistinguishable from background noise.

But the team was able to carry out more-sensitive tests by opening the wine and reducing it to ash by evaporation. This involves heating the wine to 100 degrees Celsius for one hour and then increasing the temperature to 500 degrees Celsius for eight hours. In this way, a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine produces around four grams of ashes. The ashes were then placed in a gamma ray detector to look for signs of cesium-137.

Using this method, Hubert and his colleagues found measurable amounts of cesium-137 above background levels in the wine produced after 2011. “It seems there is an increase in activity in 2011 by a factor of two,” conclude the team.

That probably won’t be very useful for fraud detection in California wine—the levels of cesium-137 are barely detectable, and even then, only if the wine is destroyed.

But the result does show how nuclear disasters can have unexpected consequences long after the fact. (Click to Source)

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1807.04340 : Dating of Wines with Cesium-137: Fukushima’s Imprint

 

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The Most Powerful Storm on Earth Is Bearing Down on Japan

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I think it’s time to retire Maria as a name for any storm. The name has been wiped from the hurricane list in the Atlantic after Hurricane Maria completely upended life in the Caribbean. But it’s still on the rolls in the Pacific, where Typhoon Maria is about to make life miserable.

The storm has ping-ponged between being the equivalent of a Category 4 and Category 5 storm since late last week. Maria could clip Japan’s Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan before slamming into China’s central coast on Wednesday, dumping heavy rains along the way. That could be a huge issue in Japan, which is already reeling from historic flooding that’s left at least 109 dead and 2 million ready evacuate.

 As of Monday, Maria was spinning as a strong Category 4 storm about 300 miles from Okinawa with sustained winds of nearly 143 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Gusts are even more potent, reaching an estimated 174 mph. The current buzzsaw of a storm is a far cry from where it was on Thursday, when it was just a tropical storm with winds around 70 mph.

 

From Thursday to Friday, the storm exploded. Warm waters and calm upper levels winds allow the storm to blow up to a Category 5 monster with 160 mph winds in 24 hours. In meteorological parlance, the storm underwent rapid intensification, which weather geeks define as a storm’s winds increasing 35 mph in a 24-hour period. Maria more than met the criteria.

The storm weakened a bit over the course of Friday and into Saturday before picking steam again on Sunday and reaching Category 5 status for the second time in its lifespan. From here on out, the storm is likely to hold steady and then slowly decay as it approaches land and upper level winds become more inhospitable to the storm’s structure and rotation.

But even as it weakens, Maria will remain dangerous. By tomorrow evening, it’s forecast to reach southern end of the Ryukyu Islands, a small archipelago on the southern edge of Japan. At that time Maria is forecast to have 130 mph winds, which are the equivalent of a strong Category 3 hurricane. Up to eight inches of rain could fall as well.

Japan is already struggling to respond to flooding throughout the central and western part of Honshu, the country’s main island. Any damage in far flung parts of of the Ryukyu Islands will only stretch resources further.

The storm is forecast to remain a Category 3 as it passes near the northern edge of Taiwan on Wednesday as well. Even if Maria doesn’t make landfall there, it’s likely to drop up to 12 inches of rain over the hilly terrain. That same terrain will also weaken the storm further, and it’s forecast to be a Category 1-equivalent storm at landfall in China.

A study published in 2016 showed that typhoons hitting Asia over the past 37 years—a period of reliable satellite records—have become up to 15 percent more intense and the “proportion of storms of categories 4 and 5 having doubled or even tripled.” That change is largely driven by rapid intensification becoming more common owing to rising ocean temperatures. The research indicates that climate change will only make this trend more common for storms in the vicinity of China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.

Climate change could also be playing a role in the increase in rapid intensification for hurricanes in the Atlantic basin according to other research, making coastal living an increasingly risky bet. (Click to Source)

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6.0-magnitude earthquake strikes off Japan’s Chiba prefecture, Felt in Tokyo

Strong 6.0 Earthquake Felt in Tokyo – Reports

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A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan Saturday evening outside Tokyo, shaking buildings in the capital, but no tsunami warning was issued, the country’s meteorological agency said.

The epicenter of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake was in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, at a depth of 50 km.

The underground shocks lasted for about 10 seconds and were felt in all prefectures in the central and north-eastern parts of the country, including the Japanese capital.

Local residents have been told not to panic and remain calm.

Despite the fact that the tsunami warning was canceled a few minutes after the earthquake, residents of the country have been asked not to approach the shoreline.

A crisis headquarters under the office of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been created to engage in collection and analysis of information as to the possible consequences of the earthquake and to coordinate the work of the relevant departments related to their elimination.

Unforeseen situations at Japanese nuclear power stations have not been recorded following the earthquake, the Japanese Committee for the Control of Atomic Energy reported.

The earthquake happened amid heavy rainfalls that have been afflicting Japan for several days, killing more than 30 people. (Click to Source)

 
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Japan To Allow Creation Of PART HUMAN / PART ANIMAL EMBRYOS FOR IMPLANTATION, GESTATION TO BIRTH FOR ORGAN HARVESTING

Japan to drop restriction on human-animal embryos

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Japan’s science ministry is set to give researchers the green light to implant fertilized eggs containing both human and animal cells into the uteruses of animals. The goal is to grow human organs for transplantation.

Reversing a previous ban, a panel of experts on Monday basically approved a draft report opening the door to studies of human-animal chimeric embryos.

Such embryos are created by injecting human cells into fertilized animal eggs.

Researchers in other countries, including the United States, have been trying to grow human pancreases and other organs in pigs to use for transplantation.

But Japan bans the implantation of such embryos into animal uteruses.

Although the draft report allows chimeric embryos to be implanted, it forbids studies into growing human brain tissue inside animals.

Panel members cite the need to study overseas cases to see whether there is any risk of creating beings that are neither human nor animal.

The draft bans inseminating the reproductive cells of chimeras to produce offspring because such cells could contain human DNA.

The ministry plans to solicit public opinions before finalizing revisions to current guidelines.

The panel’s chief, Shinichi Kosaka , says implanting the chimeric embryos has been approved because of the scientific significance.

He says the panel will keep a close eye on subsequent research to prevent the creation of human-animal hybrids. (Click to Source)

India takes fight to China via SEAsia

Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India’s newly announced ‘Delhi Declaration’ puts maritime security at the forefront of relations

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In what has been described as “the most significant exposition of its ‘Act East’ policy,” India invited Southeast Asian heads of state as its chief guests during its recent 69th Republic Day parade.

The Commemorative Summit, held on January 25 and themed “Shared values, Common Destiny”, arguably marked the arrival of India as a major force in the broader Indo-Pacific theater.

The event was held against the backdrop of a revived and still emerging India, United States, Japan and Australia “quadrilateral” strategic arrangement aimed at counterbalancing China’s ambitions in the region.

Under its “Act East” policy, previously known as “Look East”, India has recently doubled down on its trade, investment and strategic relations with East and Southeast Asia, home to some of the world’s most dynamic economies and source of the natural resources, technology and markets needed to fuel its own fast growth.

The rise of China and perceived threats to India’s interests has reinforced New Delhi’s hopes of deepening its cooperation with key regional actors, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu (C, in black) with other ASEAN head of states arrive to attend the "At Home" reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace after the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Certain Southeast Asian countries have gradually come to embrace India as a major trading partner and a potential counterbalancing force for stability in the region. China’s rising assertiveness, including in the contested South China Sea, served as backdrop for the recent India-hosted summit.

The pageantry of the summit, which saw the attendance of 11 heads of state and government, underlined the diplomatic uptrend. Both sides celebrated 25 years of dialogue partnership, 15 years of summit level interaction, and five years of strategic partnership.

The event was attended by all Southeast Asian leaders, including those with the hottest claims vis-a-vis China in the South China Sea, namely Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, this year’s Asean rotating chairman, was also in attendance.

As expected, trade and maritime security issues dominated the agenda. At the same time, India’s business-oriented and nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi deftly leveraged the event to project himself as a global and regional statesman.

The economic stakes are high. Over the past year, India’s trade with Asean expanded by 10%, rising from US$65.1 billion to US$71.6 billion. While a positive uptrend, the numbers still pale in comparison to China’s US$452.31 billion in trade with Asean countries in 2016.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

The Modi administration is intent on expanding trade and investment relations with booming Southeast Asia, which is moving towards greater economic integration with the hope of creating a common market within a decade.

India is also interested in engaging and influencing the direction of negotiations of Asean-led initiatives, namely the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement.

The Indian leader also sought to enhance into underdeveloped bilateral relations across Southeast Asia. In particular, Modi held cordial exchanges with Filipino leader Duterte, who likewise called for deeper economic ties between the two countries.

The Philippines and India discussed US$1.25 billion worth of bilateral investment pledges, largely in the area of energy, transportation, pharmaceutical industries and information technology which are expected to create as many as 10,000 jobs.

Yet, maritime security issues were also a key theme during the summit, with particular focus on China’s rising naval and territorial assertiveness in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

US aircraft carrier US Nimitz was part of the Malabar naval exercise in July which included vessels from the Indian and Japanese navies The annual exercise in the Indian Ocean is seen as an ongoing effort to maintain security cooperation among the major democracies in south and east Asia.Photo: AFP/US Navy/Cole Schroeder

During his speech before Asean heads of state, Modi identified “humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, security cooperation and freedom of navigation” as key areas for maritime cooperation.

During the “retreat” segment of the summit, the leaders held off-the-record discussions which addressed maritime security issues, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Maritime security issues were highly prominent in the joint India-Asean statement, dubbed as the “Delhi Declaration.” Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to, “maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and other lawful uses of the seas.”

They emphasized the necessity for protecting “unimpeded lawful maritime commerce”, while “promot[ing] peaceful resolutions of disputes” in accordance to international law.

In a clear reference to China’s disputes with Southeast Asian claimant states, the declaration also called for “full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DoC)” as well as “early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC).”

 

The summit underlined India’s burgeoning interest in the South China Sea, through which the bulk of India’s trade and energy passes, not to mention major energy investment deals, particularly with Vietnam.

Perturbed by China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean and rising tensions in disputed India-China borderlands in the Himalayas, the Modi administration appears to be taking the fight to China via stronger cooperation with Asean.

Yet, as Indian experts such as Abhijit Singh have warned, it’s important that both sides effectively manage their expectations lest they set themselves up for strategic disappointment.

They note bilateral India-Asean relations are, in many ways, still in their developmental stages, especially when compared to the bloc’s more robust relations with China, Japan and the United States. For instance, both sides are yet to discuss joint naval exercises, nor were there indications of a major boost to bilateral investment deals.

What is clear, however, is that India is emerging as a key strategic partner for Asean at a time several of its leading states are keen to diversify the region’s rising dependence on an increasingly assertive China. Shared concerns over China’s rise are fast becoming the glue which is bringing India and Asean closer and closer together. (Click to Source)

‘US mainland in our nuclear strike range’, Kim Jong-un warns in New Year’s speech

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared his county a nuclear power in possession of technology capable of striking the US mainland should there be a need.

“The US mainland is in our nuclear strike zone,” Kim said in his New Year’s message which was broadcast on Chosun Central TV. “The United States will never start a war with me and our country,” and Pyongyang has “completed the creation of North Korea’s nuclear forces,” he added.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang reached unprecedented levels last year, as the North continued to pursue its missile and nuclear programs. Washington said all options, including a military solution, are on the table to tame North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. While the US is still on course to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Pyongyang has so far refused to negotiate its nuclear status.

In 2018, Kim promised to focus his country’s efforts on the “operational deployment” of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. At the same time, the North Korean leader said Washington“will never” be able to start a war of aggression against Pyongyang as long as the North remains a nuclear power.

Pyongyang had a busy time developing its nuclear and ballistic programs over the course of 2017, having staged 16 missile tests and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

In light of recent success in his nuclear endeavor, Kim called for the “mass-production” of nukes and missiles to be used as a deterrent against the US and its allies.

However, despite maintaining a belligerent posture towards the US, Kim said that the North is open to talks with S. Korea. North Korea, he said, is also willing to take part in Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics scheduled to begin in February 2018. (Click to Source)

US will take N. Korea ‘into our own hands’ if China doesn’t do more – Haley

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China must do more to counter North Korea or the US will take things “into our own hands,” America’s Ambassador to the UN has said.

 

Nikky Haley told Fox News Sunday that Beijing and the rest of the international community are following through with sanctions against Pyongyang for developing its nuclear weapons programme. She then commended Washington for leading the charge.

“But to be clear, China can do more,” Haley said. “And we’re putting as much pressure on them as we can. The last time they completely cut off the oil, North Korea came to the table. And so we’ve told China they’ve got to do more. If they don’t do more, we’re going to take it into our own hands and then we’ll start to deal with secondary sanctions.”

Haley explained that Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping  have a “very good relationship,” but Trump “is really starting to put the pressure on, saying that they’ve got to do more.”

“Now it’s time for China to respond,” she said.

Later in the interview, Haley was asked about her “sometimes undiplomatic talk for a diplomat,” in reference to her promise that North Korea would be “utterly destroyed,” in a war.

“It’s the truth,” she said. “I mean the reality is, if North Korea even attempts to try and threaten the United States or any one of our allies, they will be utterly destroyed. You know, diplomacy is great in some respects, but you have to also be honest. North Korea has pushed the envelope to an extreme level.”

Haley’s comments come in the wake of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealing North Korea wants to engage directly with the US to protect its security. Lavrov said he briefed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the matter at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Vienna Thursday.

The US, South Korea and Japan are meanwhile gearing up for two days of missile tracking drills off the coast of Japan, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, the country’s Maritime Self-Defense Force announced. The maneuvers come on the heels of large-scale military exercises held by the US and South Korea in a show of force against Kim Jong-un. (Click to Source)

Typhoon Lan leaves flooding, four dead in Japan before moving out to sea

A collapsed road is seen following torrential rain caused by typhoon Lan in Kishiwada

A rapidly weakening typhoon Lan made landfall in Japan on Monday, setting off landslides and flooding that prompted evacuation orders for tens of thousands of people, but then headed out to sea after largely sparing the capital, Tokyo.

A collapsed road is seen following torrential rain caused by typhoon Lan in Kishiwada, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on October 23, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Four people were reported killed, hundreds of plane flights canceled, and train services disrupted in the wake of Lan, which had maintained intense strength until virtually the time it made landfall west of Tokyo in the early hours of Monday.

At least four people were killed, including a man who was hit by falling scaffolding, a fisherman tending to his boat, and a young woman whose car had been washed away by floodwaters.

Another casualty was left comatose by injuries and a man was missing, NHK public television said. Around 130 others suffered minor injuries.

Rivers burst their banks in several parts of Japan and fishing boats were tossed up on land. A container ship was stranded after being swept onto a harbor wall but all 19 crew members escaped injury.

Some 80,000 people in Koriyama, a city 200 km (124 miles) north of Tokyo, were ordered to evacuate as a river neared the top of its banks, NHK said, but by afternoon water levels were starting to fall. Several hundred houses in western Japan were flooded.

A listing cargo ship which ran onto a breakwater earlier, amid strong wind caused by Typhoon Lan, is seen at a port in Toyama prefecture, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on October 23, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

“My grandchild lives over there. The house is fine, but the area is flooded, and they can’t get out,” one man told NHK.

Lan had weakened to a category 2 storm when it made landfall early on Monday, sideswiping Tokyo, after powering north for days as an intense category 4 storm, according to the Tropical Storm Risk monitoring site.

By Monday afternoon the storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression and it was in the Pacific, east of the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Around 350 flights were canceled and train services disrupted over a wide area of Japan, although most commuter trains were running smoothly in Tokyo.

Toyota Motor Corp canceled the first shift at all of its assembly plants but said it would operate the second shift as normal.

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THRIVE 10grainpanckaes-lg_3Natural disasters are becoming an almost daily event around the globe.  The US has certainly seen it’s share and more is coming.  Are you prepared? Prepping used to only be for the fearful doomsday groups; however, today it’s for everyone who realizes how unpredictable life and weather has become. Please get prepared and stay prepared.  You’ll find the best, tastiest, cleanest, healthiest and most affordable gourmet freeze dried foods at EZprepGourmet.com.  The food is so healthy for you, that you can eat it everyday in addition to prepping.  It’s all GMO FREE! They even have ‘Simple Meals’ which a re full freeze dried gourmet meals all contained in one affordable box.  Check them out!

 

The strongest storm on Earth right now is heading for Japan

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Super Typhoon Lan has been undergoing rapid intensification on Thursday night and Friday, and may reach Category 5 intensity by Saturday morning. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour as of Friday afternoon, eastern time, and was still slowly intensifying.

Super Typhoon Lan is in a favorable environment for strengthening, and is likely on a collision course with highly populated areas of Japan while in a weaker, but still formidable state.

One characteristic of this storm that’s clear from satellite imagery is that it has developed a massive eye about 50 miles in diameter. To put that into perspective, if you put the center of the storm on top of Manhattan, it would encompass parts of New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley of New York, southwestern Connecticut, and western Long Island.

As the storm weakens, Typhoon Lan is forecast to move just off the Japanese coast, passing near the city of Kyoto on Oct. 22 and near or directly over Tokyo between the 22nd and 23rd.

At that time, the JTWC, predicts the typhoon will be a large Category 2 storm, though it may also be transitioning into a large and powerful non-tropical system.

Nevertheless, it could bring multiple, serious hazards to the Tokyo area, including storm surge flooding along the coast, inland flooding from heavy rains, as well as strong, damaging winds that could cause widespread power outages.

One of the most interesting aspects of this typhoon will be how it will affect the weather thousands of miles away, including across the East Coast of the U.S. during the next one to two weeks. When typhoons, particularly powerful ones like Lan, recurve into the northern Pacific Ocean, they can give a jolt — akin to a 6-pack of Red Bull — to the jet stream flowing from west to east across the Pacific Ocean.

Map showing the Pacific jet stream before Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.
Map showing the Pacific jet stream before Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.

IMAGE: WEATHERBELL

Map showing the Pacific jet stream after Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.
Map showing the Pacific jet stream after Typhoon Lan recurves into the North Pacific.

IMAGE: WEATHERBELL

 

The jet stream, which is a narrow highway of strong winds at about 30,000 feet above the Earth’s surface that steers weather systems, tends to become more amplified, or wavier, in the days after a strong typhoon recurves into the northern Pacific Ocean. These waves in the jet stream can spawn storms and outbreaks of cold air across North America, and are part of what long-range weather forecasters look for when making a prediction.

It appears that Typhoon Lan, will alter the U.S. weather pattern in a way that ends a long period of unusually mild weather across the eastern U.S., for example.

For now, though, the focus remains on the threat to Japan, given that Tokyo is a flood-prone city of 9 million.  (Click to Site)

Earthquake WARNING: Major tremor in California ‘INEVITABLE’ after ‘unusual’ quake chain

A FREAK spate of deadly earthquakes that rattled several regions in the Pacific has sparked fears California could be next.

A series of powerful quakes struck countries in a tremor danger zone known as the Ring of Fire this week.

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake devastated Mexico, killing at least 273, on Tuesday followed by ruptures in New Zealand on Wednesday and Japan, Vanuatu and Indonesia on Thursday.

Up to 81% of the world’s worst earthquakes occur in the Ring of Fire, United States Geological Survey figures show.

But baffled scientists have been left stunned by the “unusual” frequency of the quakes – leading to concerns California could be in danger.

The series of recent earthquakes were triggered by seismic waves travelling along the fault lines that are in constant motion, according to experts.Dr. Christopher Pluhar, a professor of Geology at Fresno State, said: “Earthquakes happen. We should expect them.”He said there is a 60% chance California will be struck by a powerful quake within the next 30 years.California is said to be long overdue a major “big one” earthquake, according to seismologists.

california earthquakeGETTYEARTHQUAKE FEARS: California is long overdue a major tremor, experts believe
Jean-Paul Ampuero, seismologist for Caltech, warned that a major quake in California is inevitable, according to the Mail Online.But the killer earthquake that flattened Mexico City earlier this week is not linked to the other faults in the region, experts say.Nevertheless Gary Gibson, of the University of Melbourne, said the wave of quakes seen this week “is unusual”, adding: “There’s no doubt about that, it’s been really busy.“I must say these unusual clusters happen fairly often and it seems they are not totally random, we just don’t know why.”

Last week residents of San Jose were reportedly stocking up on emergency supplies over fears the area will be hit by a massive earthquake.The city was shaken by a number of tremors including a strong 3.3 magnitude quake that was felt throughout the region.San Jose is situated precariously close to the San Andreas fault line, an 800-mile fissure that runs almost the length of California.Scientists agree that large swathes of southern California – including Los Angeles and San Diego – are long overdue a “Big One” earthquake of magnitude 7 or more.

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Although scientists have been studying earthquakes for decades, there is still no reliable method of accurately predicting the timing of a major tremor.The biggest ever earthquake to strike the region in the 20th century was in 1906 off the coast of northern California.As a result, more than 3,000 people died and 80% of San Francisco was destroyed.(Click to Site)