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There is no proven way to predict an earthquake. But does nature warn when a big earthquake is coming? Do animals hear this warning when we don’t?
Here 5 earthquake warning signs that may occur before a strong earthquake.
1. Mysterious Earthquake lights
Days, or even seconds before an earthquake, people have reportes seeing strange lights rising from the ground or hovering in the air. Though they are not fully understood, earthquake lights may be emitted from rocks that are under extreme stress.
Earthquake lights have been observed as short, blue flames coming up from the ground, as orbs of light that float in the air, or as huge forks of light that look like lightening shooting up from the ground.
2. Skyquakes and Mysterious Booms
Skyquakes or mysterious booming noises are typical earthquake precursors. They may occur several day before a large quake. The cannon-like rumbling or a sonic boom phenomenon coming from the sky have been heard in several locations around the world but remains unexplained. Many however have reported hearing loud booms prior or during earthquakes.
3. Strange Multicolor Clouds in the Sky
Earthquake clouds are claimed to be signs of imminent earthquakes and have been described since antiquity. Some of these extraordinary clouds may even occur a week before the earthquake.
Rainbow clouds are often reported before quakes as featured in this video 20 minutes before the Sichuan earthquake:
Although scientists claim to have observed clouds associated with a seismic event, these claims have very little support in the scientific community.
This interesting video discusses atmospheric changes related to earthquakes:
4. Unusual Animal Behavior
There are reports of animals, from toad to bees to birds and bears, abandoning their homes or breeding grounds just before an earthquake.
It is not understood why animals may sense an oncoming event, possibly because of changes in the electric field or feeling smaller tremors that humans can’t sense, but noticing strange behavior in your pet may give you a heads up that something is about to happen:
- Dogs, cats, and other animals can feel an earthquake seconds before it can be detected by humans. If your pet begins acting nervous and erratic, becomes frightened of seemingly nothing and runs to hide, or howl… you may want to look around for a place to take cover.
- Chickens may stop laying eggs before an earthquake.
- Catfish respond violently to changes in electric fields, which may occur before an earthquake.
Yep, look at this amazing dog:
And underwater creatures such as oarfish and whales may be a sign of an incoming quakes.
5. Electronic Devices Going Crazy
The most typical electronic precursor are unusual and sometimes unique TV interference the night before the quake.
6. Feeling Possible Foreshocks
If you experience one or more small earthquakes, there may be another, bigger earthquake on the way. However, foreshocks may not always occur before an strong earthquake, and it is impossible to tell which earthquake is the main quake until waiting for the largest quake of the series.
So Is It Possible to Predict Earthquakes?
It’s sad to say, but there is no general earthquake precursor. Geologists are working on early warning systems, but there is still much to be learned about what happens just before an earthquake hits since earthquakes don’t always behave in a consistent way. Some signs occur at different times (days, weeks, or seconds before the event), whereas sometimes those signs do not occur at all.
The most spectacular success was HaiCheng, China 1975. Scientists used several converging lines of evidence to persuade authorities to evacuate the entire city. The next day a disastrous earthquake struck which would have killed tens of thousands. One year later, officials evecuated the town of TangShan, using the exact same warning signs, but this time, no earthquake struck.