Can Animals Detect Earthquakes Before They Happen?


Strong earthquakes are disturbing, frightening and even deadly. Scientists should monitor animals under controlled conditions over long periods of time to show that strange animal behaviors could predict earthquakes. Animals could save lives if they could tell us when an earthquake is likely to occur. But is it possible?

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Increased activity in farm animals before seismic activity

There are several anecdotal examples of animals, birds and insects acting abnormally before earthquakes in the academic literature, according to Scientific American.

First, scientists should monitor animals under controlled conditions over long periods of time to show that strange animal actions could predict earthquakes.

Seismic events are known to cause strange animal behavior, such as a dog that barks repeatedly or a cow that stops milking. A connection was made by some researchers.

Recently, scientists from the German Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior, together with colleagues from other countries, claimed to have successfully measured an increase in activity in a herd of farm animals before a tremor. Earth.

Scientists say their findings represent an important step forward in the search for a conclusive relationship, despite the fact that a clear link has not been made.

Also read: 5 fascinating facts about earthquakes: can animals predict them?

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Instruments capable of capturing 48 movements per second in both directions were used by the researchers. Biologgers and GPS sensors were installed on six cows, five sheep and two dogs on a farm in an earthquake-prone region in northern Italy for four months in 2016 and 2017.

A study of the data included in the article takes into consideration the daily routines and regular interactions of the animals.

When kept together in a stable, their activity increased dramatically before earthquakes of magnitude 3.8 or greater, but not when they were outdoors.

A compelling indication of anticipatory activity was found by examining the increased movements as a whole, the researchers suggest.

Wikelski asserts that this result is consistent with the notion of collective behavior. Iain Couzin, a colleague at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, found evidence that animals, birds, insects and fish impart knowledge that improves their survival skills, such as navigation and avoidance predators, in a study.

Swarm intelligence can occur within or across species, says Wikelski.

Up to 20 hours before an earthquake occurs, researchers say farm animals can sense the tremors and respond to them; this is especially true when they are closer to the source. According to the authors, this supports the idea that animals sense a signal that spreads outward.

Some believe that moving tectonic plates causes rocks to crash along a fault line in the days leading up to an earthquake.

How animals react to the new sensation

According to a study conducted in 2010, this action causes the release of minerals from the rocks, which then expel ions into the air. According to a 2013 study, animals then react to this new sensation.

Wendy Bohon, a geologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington, DC, is skeptical of the idea of ​​ionizing air. She points out that many geologists have tried and failed to find such a signal of impending earthquakes.

The researcher acknowledges the “incredible things” that Wikelski and her colleagues have done to study the idea that animals can predict earthquakes.

Researchers from the German GFZ Research Center for Geosciences, co-author of the 2018 review, expressed gratitude for the study’s ability to measure more than one case of abnormal behavior. However, a researcher claims that the delay was still insufficient.

Associated article: Can pets predict an impending earthquake? Weirdly astonishing perception of animals could be the key

For more news, updates on earthquakes and similar topics, be sure to follow Nature World News!


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