Page Four: On Weather and Earth Changes Anomalies

  • Did the December 24th, 2004 Tsunami upset our current weather pattern? (soon)
  • The 'Ring of Fire' is very active - are areas prone to earthquakes in for larger quakes? (soon)
  • The emergence of old ( odd) weather patterns and what we can do to adjust (soon)


Colleen’s articles are © copyright. Articles aren't to be used in part or whole by any retrieval methods, either electronic, or otherwise, in media or print without permission. To ask permission to use any of the articles, please email Colleen by clicking the link below.




Earthquakes Pose a Viable Threat to the US - What you can do to protect yourself in an emergency

by Colleen Johnston revised © 2003


Worldwide earthquakes pose significant hazard to life and property especially in heavy populated areas. Earthquakes are a part of nature moreover cannot be prevented but effective measures can be taken that reduce casualties and destruction to property that they produce. Through better understanding of earthquake hazards earth scientists and engineers are helping to protect the inhabitants of all parts the United States from loss of life in addition to real estate in the future. This article is not only for earthquake preparedness but for any major disaster a family might face.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other seismologists have ascertained that there is a 70% probability of at least one magnitude 6.7 or greater quake, capable of causing widespread damage, striking the San Francisco Bay region before 2030. Destructive quakes may occur along any part of the numerous fault lines in this heavily populated area, including faults that were thought dormant or that are currently unknown. According to the USGS the urgency is a reality for all communities in the San Francisco Bay area as well as other parts of California to continue preparing for earthquakes.

The San Andreas Fault line runs from northern California, a few hundred miles north of San Francisco along the western ridge to well south of Los Angeles, California, near San Bernardino. There it connects to both the Banning and San Jucinto faults. The name San Andreas is generally applied to the northeastern most branches. In most areas it is a shallow fault zone, which can be readily spotted if viewed by air, but is much subtler when observed from the ground.

Geologists believe that the total displacement from earthquakes over the last 15 million years has been at least 350 miles along the San Andreas Fault. It has been determined that on opposite sides of the fault the landmasses have shifted 150 miles. The crustal blocks along both sides of the Teutonic plates may have moved through more than 20 degrees of latitude with a drift rate of 2 inches a year. When pressure builds along the blocks, these plates slip and an earthquake erupts.

When? Earthquake prediction, iffy at best

Along the San Andreas Fault, many segments exist where no quakes have erupted for long periods of time. Seismologist, geologists call these areas seismic gaps. Although not fool proof, methods have been developed to help in the forecasting the time when some of the seismic gaps could possibly produce large earthquakes. Geologic studies show that large earthquakes have occurred at about 150 -year intervals on the southern San Andreas Fault. The last massive earthquake on the southern San Andreas occurred in 1857. It is the section of the fault line where an earthquake could erupt within the next 30 years.

The Bay area has a slightly lower potential for a great earthquake, due to the since the great 1906 earthquake and the smaller 1989 quakes. Geologists warn that a moderate-sized or other potentially damaging earthquake could occur in this area at any time.

Unlike weather prediction, earthquakes have been very hard to pinpoint. The scientific community has disregarded alternate methods of detection even though several theories have shown promise. Those methods deal with the utilization of sound wave and scalar technology.

The ELFRAD group, headed by Charles Plyler of North Carolina is conducting current studies, which monitor frequency changes within the earth prior to earthquake activity all over the world. Although this method is in its infancy, According to Plyler, tests conducted so far are showing promise at actual prediction.

New Madrid Fault poses a feasible threat

Much of the focus is placed on the coast of California yet one of the most likely areas to erupt with a devastating quake is the New Madrid fault system. The New Madrid fault line starts in Southern Illinois and runs down into southeast Missouri, western Tennessee and into the Mississippi Valley regions.

New Madrid quakes; according to the USGS have a 90 % likelihood of producing an enormous earthquake. For instance Memphis, TN, which has a population of nearly one million, has a high likelihood of suffering catastrophic devastation from even a smaller seismic 5 to 6 magnitude events. Geophysical features include a base mixture of clay and sandy sediment that will liquefy under the duress of a large magnitude quake.

In the winter of 1811-12, the central Mississippi Valley was struck by three of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in U.S. history. Today, this region has more earthquakes than any other part of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Many are not felt due to small magnitude.

Since the 1811-12 series of large quakes that devastated the sparsely populated region along the fertile delta land - the largest quake felt along New Madrid region was a 6.8 magnitude in 1895. It was centered in Charleston, Missouri and was felt as far away as Pennsylvania and western New York State. In the past 20 years, scientists have learned that strong earthquakes in the central Mississippi Valley are not anomalous to the region and have occurred successively in the earth's history.

The destruction in recent earthquakes under 7.0 in other countries with a comparable landmass composed of sand soil with little bedrock similar to New Madrid fault of a moderate magnitude dramatically emphasizes the need for residents of the Mississippi Valley to prepare further for an earthquake of such magnitude. Earthquakes of moderate magnitude occur much more frequently than powerful earthquakes of magnitude 8 to 9; the probability of a moderate earthquake occurring in the New Madrid seismic zone in the near future is high. Scientists estimate that the probability of a magnitude 6 to 7 earthquake occurring in this seismic zone within the next 50 years is higher than 90%. Such an earthquake could hit the Mississippi Valley at any time without warning.

Being prepared in earthquake prone areas – Family efforts

Develop an emergency communication plan as well as preparing children for such measures.. In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster at a core meeting place that even your youngsters will understand.

What to do if an earthquake strikes:

    1. All family members should know how to turn off gas, water, and electricity.
    2. Plan family emergency procedures, and make plans for reuniting your family.
    3. Know emergency telephone numbers (doctor, hospital, police, 911, etc)
    4. Anchor heavy objects to walls (bookcases, wall units, mirrors, cabinets, etc.)
    5. Never place heavy objects over beds, and keep heavy objects lower than head height of shortest member of family.
    6. Inside, stand in doorway, or crouch under a desk or table, well away from windows or glass dividers.
    7. Outside, stand away from buildings, trees, telephones and electrical lines.
    8. On the road, drive away from underpasses and overpasses; stop in safe area; stay in vehicle.

In the aftermath of an earthquake:

    1. Check for injuries-provide first aid. Keep First aid kits in car as well as a safe outer storage area in case house is destroyed.
    2. Check for safety-check for gas, water, sewage breaks; check for down power lines and shorts; turn off appropriate utilities.
    3. Check for building damage and potential problems during aftershocks. if building your in is faulty move outdoors immediately.
    4. Clean up dangerous spills.
    5. Wear shoes and clothing appropriate for weather outdoors.
    6. Turn on the radio and listen for instructions from public safety agencies.
    7. Use telephone for emergencies only.


Earthquake Survival Kits

According to the Center for earthquake research and Information CERI listed below are appropriate survival kits both for home and car. I would recommend that each family have their own kit, indigenous to their own needs. With children, please do not forget a small toy such as a teddy bear or coloring books and crayons. These items can be very comforting during a crisis.

Home Family Kit

We learned a great deal from Hurricane Andrew and what the most basic needs were. Have on hand at least a minimum of 2 quarts to 1 gallon of water per person, per day and include pets. First Aid Kit with ample supplies, including scissors, needles, and thin fishing line or sterile thread, freshly stocked bandages and dressings. Burn creams, antibiotic ointments, pain medications, (prescription medications) gauze and all sizes of band-aids. Have a First Aid Manual become familiar with various dressings and know CPR.  Canned or individually packaged; precooked, foods requiring minimum heat and water. Consider infants, pets, and other special dietary requirements as well as other special needs such as for the elderly.

Other things needed for basic survival in case a shelter isn’t readily available. Matches stored in a waterproof container. Can opener, blankets (depending on the weather, layered clothing), sleeping bags, portable radios, and battery operated with spare batteries. Critical care medication such as insulin, heart medications and eyeglasses, contact cases and cleaning supplies. If you have a tent keep it in a place where it could be easily found. Fire Extinguisher-dry chemical, type ABC Flashlight-spare batteries and bulbs Watch or clock-battery or spring wound.


Barbecue grill to use outdoors with charcoal, wood and lighter fluid, or Sterno stove. Plastic bags-various sizes, sealable Pots-at least two Paper plates, plastic utensils, and paper towels.


For sanitation a shovel and know how to dig a latrine. Large plastic trash bags-for trash, waste, water protection, Ground cloth, Large trash cans, Hand soap, liquid detergent, shampoo Toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss Deodorant Feminine supplies Infant supplies Toilet paper Powdered chlorinated lime-to add to sewage to disinfect and keep away insects. Also remember newspapers-to wrap waste, garbage; in an emergency newspapers can be used may also be used for warmth.


Heavy shoes for every family member heavy gloves for every person cleaning debris candles Matches-dipped in wax and kept in waterproof container Knife-sharp, or razor blades Garden hose-for siphoning and fire fighting Clothes-complete change kept dry


Axe, Shovel, Broom, Crescent wrench-for turning off gas main, Screwdrivers, Pliers, Hammer, Rope or bailing wire, Plastic, tape, pen and paper, nails for hammering wood together.

Mini Survival Kit for Automobile

Non-perishable food-store in coffee cans, can opener,   at least a couple of gallons of water. A water  purifier, first aid kit, and manual Fire extinguisher. Blanket, Sealable plastic bags, Flashlight-spare fresh batteries and bulb Critical medication, extra eyeglasses Tools-screwdriver, pliers, wire, knife, Short rubber hose, Pre-moistened towelettes, Feminine supplies, Sturdy shoes and gloves, dry change of clothing and a blanket or sleeping bag.

Enough supplies should be stored for each family member to last at least 72 hours (5 days) or the optimum of 10 days. Small rural communities as well as larger metro areas will take time to restore some sense of order to your area.


Colleen’s articles are © copyright. Articles aren't to be used in part or whole by any retrieval methods, either electronic, or otherwise, in media or print without permission. To ask permission to use any of the articles, please email Colleen by clicking the link below.


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