The truth of the myth that captured the minds. Do animals predict earthquakes before they happen?
There are many theories and studies stating that abnormal animal behavior can help humans predict large earthquakes.
Anecdotes and eyewitness accounts suggest that animals behave strangely hours or days before an earthquake.
This myth, which has long captured the imagination of people, dates back to ancient Greece, in 373 BC, when mice, mermaids and snakes were said to have migrated from their homes days before a massive earthquake hit the entire region.
Similar stories have surfaced recently, and some say even fish and birds exhibit unusual behavior before seismic activity.
These stories have intrigued researchers who are using the latest technology to observe various animals that are said to predict earthquakes before they happen.
In this regard, Martin Wikelsky of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany conducted an important study on the change in the behavior of a group of animals in the days before an earthquake.
Wikelski placed the sensors on six cows, five sheep and two dogs in an earthquake-prone area in northern Italy and observed them for several months before and during the series of earthquakes that hit the location.
Wikelski and his team of researchers collected data that revealed a change in the behavior of farm animals 20 hours before the earthquake. The animals showed significantly longer active times, being 50 percent more active during the 45-minute time period compared to previous days.
Using a series of calculations, the researchers correctly predicted an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 4.0, and using the same method, they predicted 7 out of 8 large earthquakes.
American geologist Joseph L. Kirschvink described this phenomenon in a scientific journal in 2000, stating that many animals can sense the P wave seconds before the S wave occurs.
P-waves can travel through liquids, solids, and gases, while S-waves can only travel through solids. A small number of people may experience a smaller P-wave that travels faster from the source of an earthquake and arrives before the larger S-wave.
Kirchwen’s research raises a fundamental question: “Is it possible that animals have evolved a genetic tendency to anticipate earthquakes and maintain this anticipatory behavior despite varying degrees of seismic activity?”
The natural instinct of all animals is either to protect themselves from predators or to flee from impending dangers that they cannot prevent.
The current genetic makeup allows a wide range of vertebrates to exhibit “early warning” behavior for other types of events, and it is possible that some animals may mimic this behavior and turn it into a seismic flight response.
Despite all this, the scientific community is still not unanimous that animals predict earthquakes.
Wyatt Gibbons, professor of zoology and chief biologist at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory at the University of Georgia, told the Gadsden Times that survivors should appreciate their ability to thank scientists for finding seismic waves in the Earth’s crust, “rather than strange animal behavior.” .”
Although seismologists and scientists have not yet found a holistic model for using animal behavior as one of the tools for predicting large earthquakes, more research on this phenomenon may lead to the desired results.
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