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Another Cluster of Cable Cuts

20 December 2008

News reports say that there has been another cluster of undersea cable cuts affecting the Middle East and south Asia. A cluster early this year gave rise to many conspiracy theories, though that incident was ultimately linked to a ship dragging its anchor.

Naturally, the conspiracy theories are afoot again. If you want to participate, note that

The cuts are causing traffic to be re-routed through the United States and elsewhere.

The answer seems more benign. The BBC story notes that "some seismic activity was reported near Malta shortly before the cut was detected". A quick web search shows a 5.3 magnitude quake near Sicily. (A search shows only one other quake near there, in Greece on December 13.) From the timing, the Sicilian quake didn't cut the cables directly; it could, however, have left conditions ripe for an underwater landslide.