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World Split
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

It already has a name: “The Big One.” A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) predicts that California will experience a major earthquake — one equal to or greater than the 1994 Northridge earthquake that was responsible for collapsing parts of Los Angeles' freeways and causing $25 billion in damage — in the next 30 years. And it's more than just a possibility. According to USGS, it’s pretty much certain.

To create the new assessment, researchers used a model that combines seismology, geology and geodesy to create statewide probabilities of earthquakes over the next 30 years. They found a 99.7 percent probability that the state would experience a magnitude-6.7 or larger earthquake by 2038. Exactly which of California’s 300 faults might rupture, or exactly when, is unknown. If the earthquake should hit at a particular point in the fault line, the intensity could be 8.2 or more.

An earthquake of this magnitude could cause up to 1,800 deaths, injure 50,000 more and cause $200 billion in damages, leaving the region with long-lasting social and economic consequences. It will splinter roads, down power lines and cause floods and landslides. The aftershocks of such a quake could cause follow-up earthquakes of magnitude-6.2 or greater and cause the earth to tremble for weeks after. It would interrupt travel and commerce for millions of people, and jeopardize the supply of basic services such as running water, gas, electricity and food staples.

The above sounds frightening enough, but the good news is that the U.S. Geologic Institute is hard at work developing a survival plan. At the same time, though, we rely on G-d for protection from both natural and man-made disasters.

An earthquake of a different sort is predicted for the Great Rift Valley, which runs from Syria directly into the heart of Africa. The certainty is not 99% but 100% -- yet it is not predicted in foreboding terms but in terms suggesting a most fortunate event. The prophet Zecharia describes an earthquake that will strike Jerusalem (which lies along the Great Rift Valley), split the Mount of Olives, a historic burial ground, in two, and from its depths the dead will emerge, resurrected.

There is a view that states that all Jews who died anywhere in the world will roll underground until they reach the Mount of Olives, from where they will be resurrected. From there it is but a short distance to the third Holy Temple, which will be rebuilt even before the resurrection.

Let us pray that any predicted earthquakes will have only beneficial results, and the promised earthquake in Prophet Zechariah will reunite us with all our lost loved ones. Well before that time we await a spiritual earthquake, which will shake up the world and transform it to one that is perfect and good – the world of the Messianic era.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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