Can Animals Predict Earthquakes New Research Suggests Not

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Anecdotal evidence of animals exhibiting strange behavior before an earthquake dates back centuries.In 373 BC, rats, snakes, and weasels reportedly made a mass exodus from Helice days before a devastating tremor hit the Greek city.But you don’t need to run for cover under the kitchen table next time Fido starts howling or your dairy cows are producing less milk. According to a new study, there is no real proof that animals can predict earthquakes.“The reports of conspicuous behavior are numerous, but it could have other causes,” Heiko Woith, a scientist at the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, said in a statement. “We have looked more closely at such studies and investigated whether there is a statistical correlation between seismic activity and animal behavior.”The first comprehensive analysis was published this week in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.Researchers dug through more than 700 records alleging unusual conduct of 130-plus species (from sheep and goats and snakes and fish), related to 160 quakes of magnitude M 5.6 or higher between 2000 and 2012.Reports came from two dozen countries, most notably New Zealand, Japan, Italy, and Taiwan.Among other things, Woith and his team investigated the effect of foreshocks—mild tremors that precede the violent shaking of an earthquake.Assuming such vibrations are felt at a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) for animals, researchers looked for the existence of foreshocks in the area within 60 days.The result: 16 percent of main shocks were preceded by micro-trembles inside two months. But only 7 percent occurred within one day, and 3 percent transpired within one hour.Which suggests that at least some of the reported animal precursors are related to foreshocks, and perhaps can predict an earthquake.Well, maybe.Much of this “evidence” consists of single observations that cannot be carefully tested.“One has to keep in mind that a number of earthquakes are not announced by degassing or other signs, but literally occur spontaneously,” Woith explained.“An accurate prediction of the location, magnitude, and time of a quake seems, according to everything we know, to be impossible,” he continued. “And a reliable early warning on the basis of foreshocks or release of gases from the ground has many uncertainties and has, so far, not succeeded even with the most modern sensors.” Watch: Disneyland Stops Rides After Earthquake Shakes Southern CaliforniaNASA Images Show ‘Earthquake Island’ Swallowed Up By Sea center_img Stay on targetlast_img