Can Animals Predict Earthquakes? Essay

1494 Words Dec 12th, 2016 6 Pages
Can Animals Predict Earthquakes? In the year 373 BCE, the Roman Historian Aelian record that the city of Helike’s animals were behaving strangely. He wrote that the city’s rats, snakes, centipedes, and weasels had all fled after several days of increased activity. Five days later, the city was devastated by an earthquake that destroyed the entire area. In Edo, modern-day Tokyo, Japan, catfish were reported to have “acted weird” before earthquakes in both 1855 and 1923. In February 1975 in the Chinese city of Haicheng, snakes were seen surfacing, and strange enough occurrence in the middle of winter, and then disappearing, causing a city wide evacuation. The region was hit by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake with would have killed hundreds of thousands had they not been evacuated (Bressan 2011). The idea that animals can predict and warn us of oncoming seismic disasters has been prevalent throughout history, from as far back as ancient Greece to the modern era (Ault 2016). This list of cases appears to be anecdotal, relying on subjective impressions and hindsight biased samples, but civilizations across the globe have relied on animals to warn them of oncoming danger for centuries. While, as the saying goes, the plural of anecdote is not data, anecdotal information can help one discover new fields of study, such as: why do animals seem to predict earthquakes and, if they can, what does this mean for the field of seismology? There is no consensus over how…

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