Tags: animals | dilatancy theory | katy payne

Animals Not Given Enough Credit for Disaster Predictions

Image: Animals Not Given Enough Credit for Disaster Predictions
An Acehnese woman pours water at the mass grave of tsunami victims during a prayer commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009. A quake in Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami that killing 230,000 people, half of them in Aceh. (Heri Juanda/AP)

By David Nabhan
Thursday, 18 May 2017 10:07 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In 373 B.C. a powerful earthquake struck down the ancient Greek city of Helike, then washed the shattered rubble out to sea in the resultant tsunami which followed.

It was noticed though, just prior to the end, all manner of animals seemed to have left the city en masse. The classical writer Aelian reported, "all the mice, martens, snakes, beetles, centipedes and every other creature fled the coastal city for higher ground." This exodus took place over the five days prior to the disaster. It was a source of amazement and mystery for the people of Helike who, according to Aelian, most certainly noted it.

On Dec. 26, 2004, two and half millennia after the destruction of Helike, an equally remarkable demonstration of plausible animal perception of imminent seismicity took place. The Indian Ocean quake and tsunami killing 230,000 people, numerous news agencies came to realize, strangely enough killed too few elephants, buffalo, and other animals to even count. They too had all, in Aelian’s words, "fled for higher ground."

The National Geographic News was on the scene this time, among others, to record the event, a source most would deem somewhat more reliable than Aelian.

China’s State Seismological Bureau, under the auspices of its Center for Prediction and Analysis, employs hundreds of observers all over China whose task is to observe numerous species in order to determine how forthcoming seismic events may impinge on the sensory abilities of animals. But, the Chinese are not the first in modern times to embrace the idea that something detectable must come forth from fault lines prior to earthquakes striking; a communist dictator in a neighboring country beat them to the punch.

In 1949 a magnitude 7.5 earthquake killed 20,000 people in Ashkhabad, Turkemenistan. A few months later another 12,000 died in a killer quake that shattered Tadzhikistan.

Joseph Stalin could not believe such catastrophic occurrences could take place, without some sign being given out of the approaching disaster. He ordered his seismologists to solve the problem, promptly dispatching hundreds of scientists and support personnel to the hinterlands of Tadzhikistan — and elsewhere. There they remained for 13 years, completing their mission long after Stalin’s death.

As it turns out the Russians discovered a detectable dynamic — one among at least a dozen being investigated now in the early 21st century — that they presented to their U.S. counterparts as a gesture of goodwill when détente was declared in 1971. It’s called "dilatancy theory" and concerns the change in the velocity differential between P-waves and S-waves as water seeps into micro-fissures in bedrock as it begins to fracture before an earthquake.

Altering the normal velocity ratio of seismic waves might not be the extent of extraordinary phenomena transpiring as billions of tons of heaving, buckling substratum beneath the Earth are contorted. Indeed, the colossal seismic energy is so large that it’s truly difficult to comprehend in human terms. One joule (unit) of energy is spent in picking up an apple and raising it up to take a bite.

The Great Alaska Quake of 1964 — the most powerful ever in the history of North America — expended 1.5 quintillion joules, enough to pick up Prometheus, one of Saturn’s moons, to take a bite. The Chilean earthquake of 1960 was three times more energetic still.

To imagine such stupendous explosions of energy building up, then erupting without giving the slightest indication prior — no infrasonic, electromagnetic, or other emanations — seems incredulous. To the contrary, science is well aware that infrared radiation, VLF waves (very long frequency) and more are being propagated from seismic zones prior to large earthquakes.

Our satellites (along with French and Russian satellites) have picked up high-energy particle bursts in the upper atmosphere that led straight back to some very interesting locales below, and on very remarkable occasions: Alaska, 1964; Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, 2004; Haiti, 2010; Chile, 2010.

The idea that everything is known about what animals can and can’t do is ludicrous and can easily be disproved by the fact that something new is being discovered all the time. It’s well-known, for example, that whales have the stunning ability to communicate over the mind-boggling distances between oceans through infrasonic "songs," that sharks can detect prey from the electrical impulses given off by twitching muscles, and that bats, dolphins, snakes and other species can "see" in the sonic and/or infrared media.

It wasn’t until very recently though that biologist Katy Payne discovered that elephants communicate in a way previously completely unknown, sending their low-pitched rumbles through the pads of their feet, into the ground, and out into the surrounding savannah.

That some species should perceive earth-shattering seismic events building beneath them isn’t just plausible; it’s highly probable.

David Nabhan is a science writer, the author of "Earthquake Prediction: Dawn of the New Seismology" (2017) and three previous books on earthquakes. Nabhan is also a science fiction writer ("Pilots of Borealis," 2015) and the author of many scores of newspaper and magazine op-eds. Nabhan has been featured on television and talk radio all over the world. His website is www.earthquakepredictors.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The idea that everything is known about what animals can and can’t do is ludicrous and can easily be disproved by the fact that something new is being discovered all the time.
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