Honor Role: Cell Phones for Soldiers

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Cell Phones for Soldiers


Honor Role: Cell Phones for Soldiers

A daily staple in our lives is the cell phone. Whether you use it for calling, texting, gaming, selfies, or social media – it’s always there.

One organization knows the importance of this modern tool and wanted to make sure that deployed soldiers do not feel this void in their lives. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a nonprofit dedicated to getting those serving free communication services.

“One morning before school, my sister Brittany and I were watching the morning news with our parents,” recalls Robbie Bergquist, a co-founder of Cell Phones for Soldiers. “We heard the story of a local soldier returning from Iraq with an almost $8,000 phone bill.”

This news piece slammed the young kids into reality. “Our cousin had recently been deployed and the story really hit home for us,” he remembers, as they eventually had two cousins stationed overseas down the line. “How could a man who was serving his country not be able to call his family for free?”

The two youngsters decided to make a difference. They took all the money they had in their piggy banks, scrounged up extra lunch money and even put on a car wash to send money to the man they saw on TV.

“Our greatest educational voice at that time came from our parents,” Robbie says of starting the program with his sister, when they were just 12 and 13 years old. “They instilled in us that it was important to think of others before we thought of ourselves.”

From that point as kids to this very day, Cell Phones for Soldiers has exponentially grown. With three staff members, thousands of volunteers and over 3,900 recycled cell phone drop off locations, their childhood goal has become a big resource to the military.

“My role with the charity is as co-founder and director,” he tells us, here at VA Home Loan Centers. “Along with my sister Brittany, we travel both nationally and internationally for media appearances, speaking engagements and work with our current and new potential partners to promote Cell Phones For Soldiers so that we can continue to assist military members.”

“Servicemen and women are so humble, and unbelievably appreciative,” Robbie said. His favorite story was of a sailor on board an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic who had received phone cards from the organization so they could call home. “The sailor told us that listening to our story overwhelmed him with emotion, bringing him to leave the room. Worried about being seen crying, the sailor walked outside to gather his emotions and looked around to find many other sailors sharing his feeling.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Robbie says that shipping costs can be a real struggle for the organization. “We’re always grateful for each and every donated device, but even more delighted when supporters are able to take the extra step and pay for shipping as well.”

Cell Phones for Soldiers is always looking for new evangelists to help spread the word and contribute to the cause. “Supporters can keep up with the latest on Cell Phones For Soldiers by signing up for ournewsletter here.”

“During National Military Appreciation Month, we along with our friends at KIND Snacks are asking for help in thanking our troops and veterans for their sacrifice and bravery,” Robbie states. From this point through May 31st, he asks that those on Twitter use the hashtag #thankskindly and thank the military with the trend topic.

“Robots will then transform the tweets into physical, handwritten notes and we’ll deliver the notes to deserving heroes worldwide,” he continued. You can see how the robots do it here:http://www.kindsnacks.com/thankskindly/.

Brittany and Robbie are both grateful for the chance to thank those who have served. “We have grown up with the opportunity to meet thousands of active duty military members and veterans,” Robbie proclaimed. “We are so proud to have created something that supports them in a small way for all that they do for us.”

Visit the site for Cell Phones for Soldiers at www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter @CPFSOfficial.

Want information on VA Home Loan? Visit: https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/va-hlc-home-loan-info/. Check out your other government home loan options, like the FHA Home Loan:https://www.fedhomeloan.org/apply-for-a-mortgage/ and the USDA Home Loan:https://www.fedhomeloan.org/usda-home-loan-information-resources/.

Visit us any time at http://www.vahomeloancenters.org with our convenient chat feature, or call us at1-888-573-4496. Follow on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

How the Inca Empire Engineered a Road Across Some of the World’s Most Extreme Terrain

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How the Inca Empire Engineered a Road Across Some of the World’s Most Extreme Terrain

For a new exhibition, a Smithsonian curator conducted oral histories with contemporary indigenous cultures to recover lost Inca traditions

June 26, 2015

Every June, after the rainy season ends in the grassy highlands of southern Peru, the res­idents of four villages near Huinchiri, at more than 12,000 feet in altitude, come together for a three-day festival. Men, women and children have already spent days in busy preparation: They’ve gathered bushels of long grasses, which they’ve then soaked, pounded, and dried in the sun. These tough fibers have been twisted and braided into narrow cords, which in turn have been woven together to form six heavy cables, each the circumference of a man’s thigh and more than 100 feet long.

Inka road in the upper Amazon Quiyos River valley , REquador 2011 (Jorge Arellano)

Dozens of men heave the long cables over their shoulders and carry them single file to the edge of a deep, rocky canyon. About a hundred feet below flows the Apurímac River. Village elders murmur blessings to Mother Earth and Mother Water, then make ritual offerings by burning coca leaves and sacrificing guinea pigs and sheep.

Shortly after, the villagers set to work link­ing one side of the canyon to the other. Relying on a bridge they built the same way a year earlier—now sagging from use—they stretch out four new cables, lashing each one to rocks on either side, to form the base of the new 100-foot ­long bridge. After testing them for strength and tautness, they fasten the remaining two cables above the others to serve as handrails. Villagers lay down sticks and woven grass mats to stabilize, pave and cushion the structure. Webs of dried fiber are quickly woven, joining the handrails to the base. The old bridge is cut; it falls gently into the water.

Paved portion of Inca road, near Colca Canyon (Doug McMains)

At the end of the third day, the new hanging bridge is complete. The leaders of each of the four communities, two from either side of the canyon, walk toward one another and meet in the middle. “Tukuushis!” they exclaim. “We’ve finished!”

Q’eswachaka suspension bridge, Peru 2014 (Doug McMains)

And so it has gone for centuries. The indige­nous Quechua communities, descendants of the ancient Inca, have been building and rebuild­ing this twisted-rope bridge, or Q’eswachaka, in the same way for more than 500 years. It’s a legacy and living link to an ancient past—a bridge not only capable of bearing some 5,000 pounds but also empowered by profound spiritual strength.

Capac Nan, or The Great Road, in Contisuyu,Colca Canyon, Peru 2014 (Doug McMains)

To the Quechua, the bridge is linked to earth and water, both of which are connected to the heavens. Water comes from the sky; the earth dis­tributes it. In their incantations, the elders ask the earth to support the bridge and the water to ac­cept its presence. The rope itself is endowed with powerful symbolism: Legend has it that in ancient times the supreme Inca ruler sent out ropes from his capital in Cusco, and they united all under a peaceful and prosperous reign.

The Inca Road with sidewalls,Colca Canyon Peru 2014 (Doig McMains)

The bridge, says Ramiro Matos, physically and spiritually “embraces one side and the other side.” A Peruvian of Quechua descent, Matos is an expert on the famed Inca Road, of which this Q’eswachaka makes up just one tiny part. He’s been studying it since the 1980s and has published several books on the Inca.

Trailside water fountain,Machu Picchu, Peru 1998 (Wright Water Engineer)

For the past seven years, Matos and his colleagues have traveled throughout the six South American countries where the road runs, compil­ing an unprecedented ethnography and oral his­tory. Their detailed interviews with more than 50 indigenous people form the core of a major new exhibition, “The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire,” at the Smithsonian Institution’s Nation­al Museum of the American Indian.

“This show is different from a strict archaeo­logical exhibition,” Matos says. “It’s all about using a contemporary, living culture to understand the past.” Featured front and center, the people of the Inca Road serve as mediators of their own identi­ty. And their living culture makes it clear that “the Inca Road is a living road,” Matos says. “It has ener­gy, a spirit and a people.”

Walking The Capac Nan, Yujuy, Argentine 2005 (Axel E. Neilsen)

Matos is the ideal guide to steer such a com­plex project. For the past 50 years, he has moved gracefully between worlds—past and present, universities and villages, museums and archae­ological sites, South and North America, and English and non-English speakers. “I can connect the contemporary, present Quechua people with their past,” he says.

Numerous museum exhibitions have high­lighted Inca wonders, but none to date have focused so ambitiously on the road itself, perhaps because of the political, logistical and conceptu­al complexities. “Inca gold is easy to describe and display,” Matos explains. Such dazzling objects scarcely need an introduction. “But this is a road,” he continues. “The road is the protagonist, the ac­tor. How do we show that?”

A Woman travels the Inca road on the shore of Lake Titicaca near Pomota, Peru 2006 (Megan Son and Laurent Granier)

The sacred importance of this thorough­fare makes the task daunting. When, more than a hundred years ago, the American explorer Hiram Bingham III came across part of the Inca Road leading to the fabled 15th-century site of Machu Picchu, he saw only the remains of an overgrown physical highway, a rudimentary means of transit. Certainly most roads, whether ancient or modern, exist for the prosaic purpose of aiding commerce, conducting wars, or enabling people to travel to work. We might get our kicks on Route 66 or gasp while rounding the curves on Italy’s Amalfi Coast—but for the most part, when we hit the road, we’re not deriving spiritual strength from the highway itself. We’re just aim­ing to get somewhere efficiently.

Inca Road through the desert , Jujuy Province Argentina 2006 (Megan Son and Laurent Granier)

Not so the Inca Road. “This roadway has a spirit,” Matos says, “while other roads are empty.” Bolivian Walter Alvarez, a descendant of the Inca, told Matos that the road is alive. “It pro­tects us,” he said. “Passing along the way of our ancestors, we are protected by the Pachamama [Mother Earth]. The Pachamama is life energy, and wisdom.” To this day, Alvarez said, traditional healers make a point of traveling the road on foot. To ride in a vehicle would be inconceivable: The road itself is the source from which the healers absorb their special energy.



For the past seven years, Ramiro Matos (above, right) and his colleagues have traveled throughout the six South American countries where the road runs, compil­ing an unprecedented ethnography and oral his­tory. (NMAI/SI)

“Walking the Inca Trail, we are never tired,” Quechua leader Pedro Sulca explained to Matos in 2009. “The llamas and donkeys that walk the Inca Trail never get tired … because the old path has the blessings of the Inca.”

It has other powers too: “The Inca Trail shortens distances,” said Porfirio Ninahuaman, a Quechua from near the Andean city of Cerro de Pasco in Peru. “The modern road makes them far­ther.” Matos knows of Bolivian healers who hike the road from Bolivia to Peru’s central highlands, a distance of some 500 miles, in less than two weeks.

“They say our Inka [the Inca king] had the pow­er of the sun, who commanded on earth and all obeyed—people, animals, even rocks and stones,” said Nazario Turpo, an indigenous Quechua living near Cusco. “One day, the Inka, with his golden sling, ordered rocks and pebbles to leave his place, to move in an orderly manner, form walls, and open the great road for the Inca Empire… So was created the Capac Ñan.”

This monumental achievement, this vast an­cient highway—known to the Inca, and today in Quechua, as Capac Ñan, commonly translated as the Royal Road but literally as “Road of the Lord”—was the glue that held together the vast Inca Empire, supporting both its expansion and its successful integration into a range of cultures. It was paved with blocks of stone, reinforced with retaining walls, dug into rock faces, and linked by as many as 200 bridges, like the one at Huinchiri, made of woven-grass rope, swaying high above churning rivers. The Inca engineers cut through some of the most diverse and extreme terrain in the world, spanning rain forests, deserts and high mountains.

At its early 16th-century peak, the Inca Empire included between eight million and twelve million people and extended from modern-day Colombia down to Chile and Argentina via Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. The Capac Ñan linked Cusco, the Inca capital and center of its universe, with the rest of the realm, its main route and tributaries radiat­ing in all directions. The largest empire in its day, it also ranked as among the most sophisticated, in­corporating a diverse array of chiefdoms, kingdoms and tribes. Unlike other great empires, it used no currency. A powerful army and extraordinary central bureaucracy administered business and ensured that everyone worked—in agriculture until the harvest, and doing public works thereaf­ter. Labor—including work on this great road—was the tax Inca subjects paid. Inca engineers planned and built the road without benefit of wheeled de­vices, draft animals, a written language, or even metal tools.

The last map of the Inca Road, considered the base map until now, was completed more than three decades ago, in 1984. It shows the road run­ning for 14,378 miles. But the remapping conduct­ed by Matos and an international group of scholars revealed that it actually stretched for nearly 25,000 miles. The new map was completed by Smithso­nian cartographers for inclusion in the exhibition. Partly as a result of this work, the Inca Road became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

Rumi Colca Gateaway,Cusco, Peru 2014 (Doig Mxc Mains)

Before Matos became professionally interest­ed in the road, it was simply a part of his daily life. Born in 1937 in the village of Huancavelica, at an altitude of some 12,000 feet in Peru’s central high­lands, Matos grew up speaking Quechua; his family used the road to travel back and forth to the near­est town, some three hours away. “It was my first experience of walking on the Inca Road,” he says, though he didn’t realize it then, simply referring to it as the “Horse Road.” No cars came to Huancavel­ica until the 1970s. Today his old village is barely recognizable. “There were 300 people then. It’s cos­mopolitan now.”

As a student in the 1950s at Lima’s National University of San Marcos, Matos diverged from his path into the legal profession when he real­ized that he enjoyed history classes far more than studying law. A professor suggested archaeolo­gy. He never looked back, going on to become a noted archaeologist, excavating and restoring an­cient Andean sites, and a foremost anthropologist, pioneering the use of current native knowledge to understand his people’s past. Along the way, he has become instrumental in creating local muse­ums that safeguard and interpret pre-Inca objects and structures.



Ramiro Matos still embraces his Andean roots, taking part in festivals and other ac­tivities with fellow Quechua immigrants. “Speak­ing Quechua is part of my legacy,” he says.

Since Matos first came to the United States in 1976, he has held visiting professorships at three American universities, as well as ones in Copen­hagen, Tokyo and Bonn. That’s in addition to previous professorial appointments at two Peru­vian universities. In Washington, D.C., where he’s lived and worked since 1996, he still embraces his Andean roots, taking part in festivals and other ac­tivities with fellow Quechua immigrants. “Speak­ing Quechua is part of my legacy,” he says.


The Inca road skirting  Lake Junin, Peru 2006 (Megan Son and Laurent Granier)

Among the six million Quechua speakers in South America today, many of the old ways remain. “People live in the same houses, the same places, and use the same roads as in the Inca time,” Matos says. “They’re planting the same plants. Their be­liefs are still strong.”

But in some cases, the indigenous people Matos and his team interviewed represent the last living link to long-ago days. Seven years ago, Matos and his team interviewed 92-year-old Demetrio Roca, who recalled a 25-mile walk in 1925 with his mother from their village to Cusco, where she was a vendor in the central plaza. They were grant­ed entrance to the sacred city only after they had prayed and engaged in a ritual purification. Roca wept as he spoke of new construction wiping out his community’s last Inca sacred place—destroyed, as it happened, for road expansion.

Nowadays, about 500 communities in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and northwestern Argentina rely on what remains of the road, much of it overgrown or destroyed by earthquakes or landslides. In isolated areas, it remains “the only road for their interactions,” Matos says. While they use it to go to market, it’s always been more than just a means of transport. “For them,” Matos says, “it’s Mother Earth, a companion.” And so they make offerings at sacred sites along the route, praying for safe travels and a speedy return, just as they’ve done for hun­dreds of years.

That compression of time and space is very much in keeping with the spirit of the museum exhibition, linking past and present—and with the Quechua worldview. Quechua speakers, Matos says, use the same word, pacha, to mean both time and space. “No space without time, no time with­out space,” he says. “It’s very sophisticated.”

The Quechua have persevered over the years in spite of severe political and environmental threats, including persecution by Shining Path Maoist guerrillas and terrorists in the 1980s. Nowadays the threats to indigenous people come from water scarcity—potentially devastating to agricultural communities—and the environmen­tal effects of exploitation of natural resources, including copper, lead and gold, in the regions they call home.

“To preserve their traditional culture, [the Quechua] need to preserve the environment, especially from water and mining threats,” Matos emphasizes. But education needs to be improved too. “There are schools everywhere,” he says, “but there is no strong pre-Hispanic history. Native communities are not strongly connected with their past. In Cusco, it’s still strong. In other places, no.”

Still, he says, there is greater pride than ever among the Quechua, partly the benefit of vigorous tourism. (Some 8,000 people flocked to Huinchiri to watch the bridge-building ceremony in June last year.) “Now people are feeling proud to speak Quechua,” Matos says. “People are feeling very proud to be descendants of the Inca.” Matos hopes the Inca Road exhibition will help inspire greater commitment to preserving and understand­ing his people’s past. “Now,” he says, “is the crucial moment.”

This story is from the new travel quarterly, Smithsonian Journeys, which will arrive on newstands July 14.

“The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire” is on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. through June 1, 2018.”


Friends Reunited! Judge Meets Old Pal In Dock

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Friends Reunited! Judge Meets Old Pal In Dock

Arthur Booth appears in front of judge Mindy Glazer at Miami-Dade bond court. (SkyNews)

A burglary suspect broke down in tears in the dock when the judge recognised him as a former schoolmate and said he had been the “best kid” in school.

 Arthur Booth appeared in front of judge Mindy Glazer at Miami-Dade bond court charged with burglary.

Booth, 49, was arrested on Monday after being spotted driving a car that matched the description of one allegedly involved in a robbery and failing to stop after a police officer signalled him to.

A police chase followed, resulting in two accidents before he crashed the car.

He fled on foot but was eventually caught and charged with various offences.

When he was taken into court, the judge looked at him for a moment or two and then asked: “Did you go to Nautilus?”

“Oh my goodness,” replied Booth several times, at first with smiles and then breaking down in tears.

“I’m sorry to see you here,” replied Judge Glazer. “I always wondered what happened to you.”

“This was the nicest kid in middle school,” she told the court. “He was the best kid in middle school. I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened.”

Judge Recognizes Middle School Classmate In Bond Court

“What’s sad is how old we’ve become,” she continued before finishing the conversation with: “Good luck to you, sir, I hope you are able to come out of this OK and just lead a lawful life.”

The judge set Booth’s bond at $43,000 (£27,500).

Judge recognizes burglary suspect as middle school classmate

It was an emotional reunion in a very odd place. Forty-nine-year-old Arthur Booth was in a Florida court Thursday facing charges for burglary, grand theft and resisting arrest. He broke down when he realized the judge, Mindy Glazer, was a former classmate. Ben Tracy reports.
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Magnets Attract: From Deep Space to Your Desktop

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Magnets Attract: From Deep Space to Your Desktop

Plague Evolution: How a Mild Stomach Bug Became a Worldwide Killer

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Plague Evolution: How a Mild Stomach Bug Became a Worldwide Killer

The Black Death — the dreaded plague that killed millions of people during the Middle Ages — only reached pandemic status after the bacteria that cause it acquired two pivotal mutations, a new study finds.

With the first of those mutations, ancient strains of plague bacteria (Yersinia pestis) gained the ability to cause pneumonic plague — a respiratory form of the disease that spreads easily when people infected with it sneeze around others, researchers found.

Only later did the plague genome acquire the second mutation, which gave it the ability to cause the fast-killing disease known today as bubonic plague, the researchers said in their study, published online today (June 30) in the journal Nature Communications.

The Good, the Bad, and the Algae

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The Good, the Bad, and the Algae


June 26, 2015: Algae are complicated. The little plants can be both good and bad.

Single-celled algae called phytoplankton are a main source of food for fish and other aquatic life, and account for half of the photosynthetic activity on Earth—that’s good.

But certain varieties such as some cyanobacteria produce toxins that can harm humans, fish, and other animals. Under certain conditions, algae populations can grow explosively — a spectacle known as an algal bloom, which can cover hundreds of square kilometers. For example, in August 2014, a cyanobacteria outbreak in Lake Erie prompted Toledo, Ohio, officials to ban the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents.

With support from NASA, the EPA has developed an app to track algae that can threaten fresh water supplies.

In the United States alone, freshwater degradation from “bad” algae costs the economy about $64 million a year.

NASA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Geological Survey are doing something about it. NASA has long used Earth observing satellites to locate algal bloom outbreaks in the ocean. But now, this unique satellite data will be routinely produced in a form that helps US water quality managers monitor our freshwater. Water quality managers will soon, with a peek at their cell phones, have an answer to “how’s the water?”

The four agencies are working on a joint project, sponsored by NASA, to transform satellite data into an indicator of cyanobacteria outbreaks in our freshwater supply. The data will be integrated into an EPA Android smart phone application so environmental officials can see – at a glance – the condition of a specific water body.

“With our app, you can view water quality on the scale of the US, and zoom in to get near-real-time data for a local lake,” explains the EPA’s Blake Schaeffer, Principal Investigator for the project. When we start pushing this data to smartphone apps, we will have achieved something that’s never been done provide water quality satellite data like weather data. People will be able to check the amount of ‘algae bloom’ like they would check the temperature.”

Here’s how it works:

A harmful species of cyanobacteria emits chlorophyll and fluorescent light at various points in their life cycles. Landsat and NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) can detect these “ocean color” signals, which reveal the location and abundance of cyanobacteria.  The project team will collect this data for freshwater bodies and convert it into a form accessible through web portals and the EPA mobile app. In addition to MODIS, they’ll draw data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3.

With early warning about a developing bloom, officials at water treatment plants will be better able to determine when, where, and how much to treat the water to keep consumers safe. That means unnecessary — and expensive — overtreatment may be avoided. The data will also help park managers alert swimmers, boaters, and other recreational users to hazardous conditions.

Says NASA Administrator Charles Bolden:  “We’re excited to be putting NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration to work protecting public health and safety.”

The project will also help scientists understand why “bad” algae outbreaks occur.  By comparing the color data with landcover change data, they’ll learn more about environmental factors that spur algal growth. The result: better forecasts of bloom events. So we’ll know when an algae bloom is safe or harmful

Helium Leaking from Earth in Southern California

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Helium Leaking from Earth in Southern California

A natural helium leak in Southern California reveals that the Newport-Inglewood fault is deeper than once thought — with a direct line from the Earth’s surface to the planet’s hot, dense mantle.

Scientists have found high levels of helium-3 in oil wells up to 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) deep in Orange County, along a 30-mile (48 kilometers) stretch from Los Angeles’ Westside to Newport Beach. Helium-3 comes only from the Earth’s mantle, the semisolid rock layer beneath the crust.

“The fault, which I don’t think people had anticipated, was deeply connected,” said Jim Boles, a professor emeritus of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The results have implications for the underground structure of the Los Angeles basin. Geologists believed the area to be underpinned by a low-angle thrust fault, but the Newport-Inglewood fault appears to plunge down deep, Boles told Live Science. [In Photos: Ocean Hidden Deep in Earth’s Mantle]

What the study does not do — despite some breathless media coverage otherwise — is alter earthquake predictions about southern California.

Hot rock

Discovering helium-3 at the Newport-Inglewood fault is undeniably odd. About 30 million years ago, the fault was the site of a subduction zone, a region in which one continental plate is pushing under another, driving a layer of crust down toward the mantle like a conveyer belt. Boles and his colleagues found a layer of a metamorphic rock called blueschist at the bottom of deep wells in the Newport-Inglewood fault zone. The minerals in blueschist form only in very particular conditions in which rock gets pushed deep underground and then rapidly resurfaces, before having time to “cook” under the high temperatures deep in the crust, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. These conditions exist insubduction zones.

Jim Boles collected gas samples from oil wells along the Newport-Inglewood fault, where he found evidence of helium-3.
Credit: Sonia Fernandez

But subduction zones are not typically places where high levels of helium-3 are found, Boles said. Helium anomalies are most often found in spreading centers in the deep ocean, where the Earth’s crust is pulling apart, or in volcanic hotspots such as the Hawaiian islands orYellowstone National Park, where the hot mantle gets close to the Earth’s surface.

The Newport-Inglewood fault “could have had a connection” to the mantle 30 million years ago when it was an active subduction zone, Boles said, “but the fact that the connection looks like it’s still there is pretty interesting.”

Complicated faults

What the new findings suggest is that the Newport-Inglewood fault runs deep. A previous hypothesis held that the LA Basin was underpinned by a low-angle thrust fault, but this study contradicts that notion, Boles said. Essentially, the underground structure of the region may be far different than once thought.

Despite scattered news reports linking the new findings to an earlier USGS report that raised the risk of a large quake in the next three decades from about 4.7 percent to 7 percent, the helium discovery at the Newport-Inglewood fault is not cause for panic. The discovery does not speak to the seismicity of the region, Boles said, and a lot more data is needed to even determine the implications of the findings for the area’s geologic structure.

“The only thing you can say is that this fault looks like it’s a more significant fault than people thought in terms of how deep it goes and what it communicates with,” Boles said.

The researchers reported their findings in the online journalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, also known as G-Cubed.

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitterand Google+. Follow us@livescience, Facebook& Google+. Original article on Live Science.