Earthquake Myths

No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how, and they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. However based on scientific data, probabilities can be calculated for...
The earliest reference we have to unusual animal behavior prior to a significant earthquake is from Greece in 373 BC. Rats, weasels, snakes, and centipedes reportedly left their homes and headed for safety several days before a destructive earthquake....
A temporary increase or decrease in seismicity is part of the normal fluctuation of earthquake rates.  Niether an increase or decrease worldwide is a positive indication that a large earthquake is imminent. The NEIC now locates about 20,000 earthquakes...
The "Triangle of Life" is a misguided idea about the best location a person should try to occupy during an earthquake. It is listed in the Urban Legends category on the Snopes Urban Legends Reference Web site. Drop, cover, and hold under a table or desk...
Theoretically yes, but realistically the answer is probably no. The magnitude of an earthquake is related to the length of the fault on which it occurs. That is, the longer the fault, the larger the earthquake. A fault is a break in the rocks that make...
There is no scientific explanation for the symptoms some people claim to have preceding an earthquake, and more often than not there is no earthquake following the symptoms.
Shallow crevasses can form during earthquake-induced landslides, lateral spreads, or other types of ground failures. Faults, however, do not open up during an earthquake. Movement occurs along the plane of a fault, not perpendicular to it. If faults...
No. The San Andreas Fault System, which crosses California from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino in the north, is the boundary between the Pacific Plate and North American Plate. The Pacific Plate is moving northwest with respect to the...
In the 4th Century B.C., Aristotle proposed that earthquakes were caused by winds trapped in subterranean caves. Small tremors were thought to have been caused by air pushing on the cavern roofs, and large ones by the air breaking the surface. This...
Seismologists have observed that for every magnitude 6 earthquake there are 10 of magnitude 5, 100 of magnitude 4, 1,000 of magnitude 3, and so forth as the events get smaller and smaller. This sounds like a lot of small earthquakes, but there are never...