Can animals predict earthquakes?
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. Anecdotal evidence abounds of animals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects exhibiting strange behavior anywhere from weeks to seconds before an earthquake. However, consistent and reliable behavior prior to seismic events, and a mechanism explaining how it could work, still eludes us. Most, but not all, scientists pursuing this mystery are in China or Japan.
An earthquake forecast was made in China several decades ago, based on small earthquakes and unusual animal activity. Many people chose to sleep outside of their homes and thus were spared when the main earthquake indeed occurred and caused widespread destruction. However, usually no large earthquake follows this type of seismic activity, and, unfortunately, many earthquakes are preceded by no precursory events whatsoever. The next large Chinese event was entirely unheralded and scores of thousands of Chinese died.
Why are we having so many earthquakes? Has naturally occurring earthquake activity been increasing? Does this mean a big one is going to hit? OR We haven't had any earthquakes in a long time; does this mean that the pressure is building up for a big one?
New USGS maps identify potential ground-shaking hazards in 2017 from both human-induced and natural earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S.
New Audiences, New Products for the National Seismic Hazard Maps
Throughout California April is recognized as Earthquake Preparedness Month. This Thursday's lecture, "Predictable Earthquakes", will provide an update on the current ability of scientists to predict potentially destructive earthquakes and to separate fact from fiction from this intriguing topic.
Title: ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning ... how a few seconds can save lives and property
- The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year.
- Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain.
- With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?
Dog trainer stands with scent-detection canine at Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
by Morgan Page, USGS Research Geophysicist
- Scientists cannot currently predict the precise time, location, and size of future damaging earthquakes.
- Historical records of earthquakes in California date back over 150 years.
- Geologists have dug trenches to extend the known history on some faults back to around 1,000 years before
--updating earthquake prediction--fact vs. fiction
by Susan Hough, USGS Seismologist
- Although scientists were optimistic about earthquake prediction in the 1970s, reliable short-term prediction has remained an elusive goal
- What have seismologists learned from recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Japan?
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vessel Tiglax off of Kasatochi Island, Alaska, as seen through a flock of Crested Auklets.
A prairie dog stands on alert. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center works to identify, track, and prevent wildlife disease. Better protection of prairie dogs against plague would minimize the risk of disease transfer to endangered black-footed ferrets, aid in prairie dog conservation, and protect public health.