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Study attributes Oklahoma earthquakes to subsurface wastewater injection

A study has attributed the dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 to subsurface wastewater injection at a few wastewater disposal wells. As per researchers, Oklahoma earthquakes make up nearly half of all central and eastern U.S. seismicity from 2008 to 2013, many occurring in areas of high-rate water disposal.

Induced seismicity poses as a primary obstacle to expanded shale gas and unconventional hydrocarbon development. The study offers insight into the process by which the earthquakes are induced and suggests that sticking to standard best practices may significantly cut down the danger of inducing seismicity. The best practices include avoiding wastewater disposal near major faults and the use of suitable monitoring and mitigation schemes.

As per research, 4 of the highest-volume disposal wells in Oklahoma (about 0.05% of wells) are capable of triggering about 20% of recent central U.S. earthquakes in a series, called a swarm, spanning nearly 2,000 sq kms, as shown by the study of modeled pore pressure surge at relocated earthquake hypocenters.

Earthquakes are induced at distances more than 30 kms from the disposal wells, far away from current criteria of 5 kms from the well for diagnosis of induced earthquakes.

The area of increased pressure related to these wells keeps expanding, increasing the probability of encountering a larger fault and thus raising the risk of triggering an earthquake of higher-magnitude.

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Typhoon Neoguri: Super typhoon moving towards Japan

A super typhoon named Neoguri was advancing north for Japan on July 7, 2014, set to lash the southern Okinawa archipelagoes with heavy rain and powerful winds before making landfall on Kyushu, Japan’s westernmost main island. The typhoon was already heading at more than 250 km an hour (150 mph) and may become more powerful as it advances north. But it was not expected to be as intense as Typhoon Haiyan, which killed thousands in the Philippines in 2013. Typhoon Neoguri, is known as “Florita” in Philippines. It is the 8th named storm and the second typhoon of the yearly typhoon season and is a large and powerful tropical cyclone affecting Okinawa, Japan.

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Japan’s acute policy shift from post-war pacifism, allows fighting for allies

In a dramatic shift in policy, Japan changed its stance of its post-war pacifism by revoking a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since 1945. Although the move signifies victory countries for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it has bothered China and many Japanese citizens. The policy change will extend Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising collective self-defense“, or aiding an ally nation under attack.

Japan adopted a resolution describing the change, which also eases limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war. Japan’s military, which has long been constrained by the post-war constitution, will now become more aligned with the militaries of other advanced countries in terms of its options.​

In World War II, the US defeated Japan and then became its close friend with a security cooperation agreement. The US has welcomed the Japanese decision and said it would strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance. The US has long exhorted Japan to become a more equal alliance partner. Tokyo’s step has also been well received by Southeast Asia nations that like Japan have territorial disputes with an increasingly assertive China. Tokyo’s new policy has riled China, whose relationships with Japan have strained due to a maritime dispute, mistrust and the legacy of past Japanese military aggression.

South Korea, also a US ally, but still distressed about Japan’s 20th century colonization of the Korea, said it would not accept any policy shift affecting its security unless it gave its agreement.

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