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The question begs its way into discussion: is something going on underground, deep down in the earth -- some sort of shifting?

For years, but particularly during the past one, there has been a flurry of seismic events. Most have consisted of small quakes, causing little damage. But they have been more frequent than before, and a number have been surprisingly high on the Richter scale (though not always causing massive destruction). There was a magnitude-7.3 just Friday (December 7, 2012) in the same general region in Japan that experienced that tremendous magnitude-9 quake at Fukushima in March of 2011.

At the same time, there has been an uptick in volcanic activity. Magma seems to be filling caverns. In Hawaii, a new fiery flow reached the Pacific last week. Experts are closely watching a volcano field near Vesuvius -- and more than ninety craters in Japan. Like the weather (and society), they are part of our gyrating time. This morning (12/11/12) a magnitude-7.3 struck near Indonesia, different in certain characteristics to do with seismic "waves." Last May, a mysterious quake was recorded in the same region -- mysterious because though it was one of the ten most intense on record (at a reported magnitude of 8.6) it caused very little damage (and generated no tsunami).

It is not only the Ring of Fire. Seismic pulses have also been frequent in the region known as the New Madrid fault (where the most powerful quakes in recorded U.S. history struck during the early 1800s along the Mississippi, especially south of Saint Louis, but also ringing church bells as far as Montreal). According to Bloomberg, there has been "a sixfold increase in the number of earthquakes that have shaken the central part of the U.S. from 2000 to 2011." Note emphasis on the word "recorded," for we really have no idea where the most potent ones in geologic time have struck nor their magnitude.

They are cropping up where we don't usually expect them. Expect more of this. Not too long ago, a quake struck near Richmond, Virginia (this the one that damaged the Washington Monument). Last week, on December 6, an internet thread that follows seismic activity from federal charts provided by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Memphis reported what it interpreted as "low-level vibrations across an exceptionally large part of the nation."

That was a blog; no mainstream official has issued a similar public statement. Thus, it's a difficult time to discern; on one hand are many reports of what seem like disturbances and on the other hand the technology behind reporting seismic activity has so greatly increased that it can create informational "noise" and artifacts.

Nonetheless: it is a strange time: Unusual and in some cases inexplicable vibrations as well as rumbles and booms and "hums" continue to make the news -- a loud "bang" in Alabama, loud rumbling in Georgia (quarry work and earthquakes were ruled out), "phantom booms" in Rhode Island, and a mystery in Arizona, where a CBS affiliate reported (on December 5 and 6): "Residents in communities in and around Verde Valley and as far as Flagstaff called 911 or their police and fire departments to report the strange booming sounds. 'It sounded like thunder, but underground,' one said. 'Like muffled thunder. And all the dogs in the neighborhood, all of them that were outside all started barking at once.' CBS 5 News first received reports of the explosion-like noises shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday and began checking with law enforcement and government sources. The U.S. Geological Survey reports no significant earthquake activity in Arizona that could have created the booms."

In Texas, a station called KTEN said on December 5 it had "hundreds of reports of loud explosions and the ground shaking in seven counties from north Texas to southern Oklahoma. People tell us, they felt shaking and heard a loud boom just after eight this morning." The station concluded that it was sonic booms from Lockheed Martin (which manufactures military aircraft). Such booms can vibrate the earth. But some observers took issue with that explanation, saying it was much louder than what jets cause; another report indicated that earth shaking had continued beyond a single event.

Curiously, the same outbreak occurred nearly a year ago, in that case after Christmas. It has nothing to do with the Mayan calendar. It may have to do with some kind of profound commotion in the earth that is far away from the purview of geologists (who can only survey a minuscule part of the earth's interior -- and are not even sure what's at its core). There have also been sink holes.

These may be caused by what the petrochemical and other industries have been doing beneath the surface. South of Baton Rouge in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, is one that is located near a salt dome (used by the brine industry) and runs down as deep as four hundred feet, has spread out over at least eight acres, and occasionally belches gas. It has swallowed 100-foot trees and more than a hundred homes have been evacuated.

Recent sinkholes also have been reported in states like Ohio, where a giant one that is more than thirty-feet deep and the size of four football fields has suddenly formed. Notes a report: "That sinkhole caused part of State Route 516 to collapse and authorities say that it will likely be closed for many months. You can see video of the gigantic sinkhole in Ohio right here. Are these monster sinkholes an indication that major earth changes are coming along the New Madrid fault? Has reckless human activity awoken a sleeping giant that we should never have messed with?"

It was last winter that a flurry of reports erupted on strange booms and rumblings across North America and also in other parts of the world.

There have been quakes in Alaska. There have been quakes in New Zealand. There have been tremors in Southeast Asia and in South America (especially Chile). There has been shaking -- minor, but a bit too frequent -- in California and Caribbean.

Most of the tremors have been along the earthquake zone known as the "Ring of Fire" that extends like a 25,000-mile long horseshoe from New Zealand up through all of Asia and then across Alaska and down to the western coasts of both North and South America, where the largest number of intense quakes on the planet occur as tectonic plates grind and subduct under each other. In one twenty-four-hour period earlier this year, there were the following along this zone: two quakes in Mexico, one in Oregon, one in Indonesia, and one back at Fukushima.

Commotion in this zone raises a red flag and to our eye it seems the frequency has significantly grown, paralleling the gyration in climate. In fact, superstorm "Sandy" even caused a minor quake (and was preceded, in New Jersey, by unusual rumblings).

What it portends for future years is the matter at hand. Is something going on deep down there -- a profound shifting in what may be interconnected faults along unknown tectonic boundaries? Was the great Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza right when she fretted that the "earth's core, it is not in balance"?

The seismic activity may meld into events that join other "signs of the time" like the climate, which we expect to gyrate -- and remarkably so -- for years to come.

Stay tuned...

[resources: Tower of Light and Special Michael Brown seminar, Florida, January 27

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[Footnote: The rumblings already are paralleling storms. Certainly not most, but is some of it caused by man? In this vein was the alleged Catholic Serbian "prophet" named Mitar Tarabich (1829-1899), an illiterate peasant from a small village called Kremna, who, it was said, had experienced occasional prophetic visions. Being a religious person and having a local Serbian orthodox priest for a godfather, he told this priest about his episodes of "seeing into the future," according to a website devoted to him.

The priest, Zaharije Zaharich (1836-1918), wrote down everything in a small notebook, which was damaged by fire in 1943 when his family house was destroyed by the occupying Bulgarian army. This text is now in the possession of the family of Zaharich's great-grandson, Mr. Dejan Malenkovich. Anyway, one excerpt:

"People will drill wells deep in the ground and dig out gold, which will give them light, speed, and power, and the earth will shed tears of sorrow, because there will be much more gold and light on its surface than in its interior. The earth will suffer because of these open wounds. Instead of working in the fields, people will dig everywhere, in right and wrong places, but the real power will be all around them, not being able to tell them, 'Come on, take me, don't you see that I am here, all around you.' Only after many a summer, people will remember this real power, and then they will realize how unintelligent it was to dig all those holes. This power will also be present in people but it will take a long time before they discover it and use it. Thus man will live for a long, long time, not being able to know himself. There will be many learned men who will think through their books that they know and can do everything. They will be the great obstacle for this realization [self-knowledge], but once men get this knowledge, then people will see what kind of delusion it was when they listened to their learned men. When that happens, people will be so sorry that they didn't discover it before, because this knowledge is so simple."]



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