@usgs #USGS You have nothing more to do than to post pictures on social networks? #earthquake #California #Japan #SNGR #DRR #unisdr #omargp:
— Boffin (@FolloversTRON) June 12, 2013
A recent popular theory purports that there is a correlation between Lost Pet ads in the San Jose Mercury News and the dates of earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay area. A thorough statistical analysis of this theory, published in California Geology in 1988, concludes that there is no such correlation, however. The most recent paper published in a scientific journal in the U.S. on this subject by a respected scientist was in 2000, and it is summarized here...
The paper poses this question: Is it reasonable for a seismic-escape behavior pattern to evolve, and can such a genetic system be maintained in the face of selection pressures operating on the time scales of damaging seismic events? All animals instinctively respond to escape from predators and to preserve their lives. A wide variety of vertebrates already express “early warning” behaviors that we understand for other types of events, so it’s possible that a seismic-escape response could have evolved from this already-existing genetic predisposal. An instinctive response following a P-wave seconds before a larger S wave is not a “huge leap”, so to speak, but what about other precursors that may occur days or weeks before an earthquake that we don’t yet know about? If in fact there are precursors to a significant earthquake that we have yet to learn about (such as ground tilting, groundwater changes, electrical or magnetic field variations), indeed it’s possible that some animals could sense these signals and connect the perception with an impending earthquake.
- Kirschvink, Joseph L. (2000). Earthquake Prediction by Animals: Evolution and Sensory Perception, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 90, pp. 312-323.
- Quammen, D. (1985). Animals and earthquakes: This World, San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, p. 15-16.
- Schaal, Rand B. (1988). An Evaluation of the Animal Behavior Theory for Earthquake Prediction, California Geology, v41, n2.