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Two things recently happened: on 21 May, a 4.1 Mw quake struck Napa, considerably north and to east of the epicenter of the much larger Napa quake of last August.

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And yesterday, a 4.8 Mw (originally reported as much higher) quake struck some distance from Las Vegas.

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Now, normally geologists will tell you that there is no connection between such events. Four-pointers are pretty common, with worldwide occurrences usually over ten thousand per year.

Scientists know quakes happen all the time; that two happened a day apart was just coincidence. However, a relative of mine alerted me to a page on the website “Dutchsinse” that reported alarming connections between recent earthquakes. I looked into this further. The article, titled “West Coast, East Coast, Southern US Earthquakes Strike the Craton Edge–Plate Pressure Obvious,” appeared on the website of “Dutchsinse,” which describes itself as a page about “Earth Changes news, weather modification, earthquakes, volcanoes, and space anomalies.”

Yep, you read that right–weather modification. And sure enough, all over this page are references to HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), a staple of the fringe who think that The X-Files was a documentary showcasing the ways in which the secretive government is out to get you.

In reality, HAARP uses an Alaskan-based facility to conduct research into the ionosphere. To the conspiratorially-minded, however, the HAARP facility is how the government controls the weather, disables airplanes, and controls minds. Some even claim that President Obama used HAARP to create Hurricane Sandy, which struck just before his re-election. (Skeptic magazine has a nice takedown here.)

To these conspiracy theorists, HAARP has also been used to create earthquakes. And now the pieces fall into place–this site is implying the two quakes in Napa and Nevada are related because they were created by the government. That’s so bad it is, as physicists are fond of saying, not even wrong.

This site is a dark corner of the Internet. And it snared at least one unsuspecting person, my relative, who pointed out with alarm this seemingly-legitimate article. Many other dark corners exist, and each person needs to guard him or herself with a hefty dose of skepticism before venturing out into the raw, crazy world this country has become.

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