ArticlePDF Available

Retrospective Studies of Unusual Animal Behavior as an Earthquake Predictor

Authors:

Abstract

We systematically applied a retrospective interview approach to the study of unusual animal behavior prior to seven earthquakes in North, Central and South America. Data taken at some distance from two of the earthquakes provided a baseline rate of unusual animal behavior. In comparison to this baseline one earthquake was preceded by a significant increase in unusual animal behavior and four were not.
... These responses are mostly observed in the epicentral region-close to the active faults. It has been reported that they are actually re-responding to the P-wave, which was first outlined by [18,22]. It was also discussed that the precursor time may vary from a few minutes to various hours or even for several days, with increased restlessness before an earthquake. ...
Article
Full-text available
Earthquakes are one of the most overwhelming types of natural hazards. As a result, successfully handling the situation they create is crucial. Due to earthquakes, many lives can be lost, alongside devastating impacts to the economy. The ability to forecast earthquakes is one of the biggest issues in geoscience. Machine learning technology can play a vital role in the field of geoscience for forecasting earthquakes. We aim to develop a method for forecasting the magnitude range of earthquakes using machine learning classifier algorithms. Three different ranges have been categorized: fatal earthquake; moderate earthquake; and mild earthquake. In order to distinguish between these classifications, seven different machine learning classifier algorithms have been used for building the model. To train the model, six different datasets of India and regions nearby to India have been used. The Bayes Net, Random Tree, Simple Logistic, Random Forest, Logistic Model Tree (LMT), ZeroR and Logistic Regression algorithms have been applied to each dataset. All of the models have been developed using the Weka tool and the results have been noted. It was observed that Simple Logistic and LMT classifiers performed well in each case.
... Abnormal animal behavior is the oldest and most consistently reported short-term earthquake pre-cursor (Lott et al. 1981). When animals showed an unusual behavior before a seismic event, it has been suggested they are sensitive to the P-wave. ...
Chapter
The chapter introduces some of seismic prediction methods proposed in the last 50 years. Having in mind the physical and statistical limits in earthquake predictability, the earthquake prediction methods are impartially reported in this chapter. © 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.
... To minimise such huge losses, researchers all over the world have been trying to determine possible precursors of impending earthquakes for the last several decades. Various seismic and nonseismic precursors including seismicity trends, lithospheric, geophysical and geochemical precursors, animal behavior, ground water variations, and electromagnetic changes in ionosphere have been studied globally by various researchers (Fleischer andMogro-Campero, 1978, 1985;Lott et al., 1981;Kagan and Jackson, 1991;Pulinets et al., 2006;Pérez et al., 2008;Singh et al., 2010;Freund and Stoic, 2013;Ergintav et al., 2014;Jin et al., 2014). Geochemical signals (radon, helium, methane, etc.), especially radon-222 gas emanated from soils and hydrothermal systems, have drawn much attention as promising seismic precursors. ...
Article
The present paper deals with monitoring soil radon-222 concentration at two different locations, designated Site A and Site B, 200 m apart at Jadavpur University campus, Kolkata, India, with a view to find possible precursors for the earthquakes that occurred within a few hundred kilometers from the monitoring site. The solid state nuclear track detector CR-39 has been used for detection of radon gas coming out from soil. Radon-222 time series at both locations during the period August 2012-December 2013 have been analysed. Distinct anomalies in the soil radon time series have been observed for seven earthquakes of magnitude greater than 4.0 M that occurred during this time. Of these, radon anomalies for two earthquakes have been observed at both locations A and B. Absence of anomalies for some other earthquakes has been discussed, and the observations have been compared with some earthquake precursor models.
... Efforts have been made all over the world over the last few decades to find out probable precursors of an impending earthquake. The possible precursors that have been studied include a wide variety of phenomena ranging from animal behaviour (Lott et al. 1981;Grant et al. 2011;Freund and Stoic 2013) to seismicity trends (Kagan and Jackson 1991;Ergintav et al. 2014). In fact, the International Association for Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI) received 40 nominations for earthquake precursors on its call for assessment of the schemes for earthquake prediction in 1989 (Wyss and Booth 1997). ...
Article
Full-text available
Concentration of Rn-222 in soil has been monitored continuously at Ravangla in the Sikkim Himalayan Region of eastern India for about seven months from October 2015 to May 2016 to detect earthquake-induced anomalies. The recorded data clearly shows that various physical and meteorological parameters influence the soil radon concentration, leading to very complex soil Rn-222 time series. The components due to such external influences have been removed from the present time series, and Hilbert-Huang Transform (HHT) applied for analysis of the data. Two radon anomalies caused due to earthquakes of magnitude Mb = 5.0 that occurred on 19 November 2015 and 5 April 2016 within an epicentral distance of 500 km from the monitoring station have been identified on the soil Rn-222 time series. These two precursory anomalies occurred nine and ten days respectively before the occurrence of the earthquakes. The absence of spurious signals or missing anomalies demonstrates that HHT is advantageous for analysis of nonlinear non-stationary data, and hence it is a promising technique to analyse soil radon behaviour for predicting the possibility of occurrence of earthquakes.
... A persistent folk legend had grown up around the possibility. Reports of observations accumulated up to 1980 left no doubt that the phenomenon has at least limited validity as a precursor (Lee, Ando, & Kautz 1976, Evernden 1976, Davis 1979, Kerr 1980, Lott, Hart, & Howell 1981, though solid data were missing. While the intuitives confi rmed this hypothesis, specifi cs were neither offered nor requested as to which kinds of quakes, animals, animal sensitivities, and perhaps other factors are behind the precursor. ...
Article
Full-text available
Up until 1980 seismology was focused entirely upon data collection, the long-term study of tectonic processes, and limited surface-level measurements. Formal research on earthquakes was almost at a standstill despite the urgent need to discover reliable and measurable precursors in support of a system for short-term prediction. In the period 1975–1978 the author chose to interview eight intuitive experts who had proven their abilities in domains other than seismology. He asked them identical questions about the physical process involved in earthquake-triggering and associated precursors, and then compiled their consistent responses into a consensus. The accounts agreed well with one another and offered a number of insightful and possibly new directions for seismological research. Re-examination of these intuitive findings thirty years later, in the light of the many subsequent discoveries reported in mainstream geophysics journals, revealed that the expert intuitives had provided novel, significant, and strikingly correct information on earthquake-triggering and related precursors. This exemplary result suggests that skillfully applied intuitive inquiry could play a significant role in future seismological and geophysical studies, as well as in scientific research generally. Keywords: earthquakes—intuition—intuitive consensus—expert intuitives—earth-quake triggering—seismology—geophysics—prediction—verification—nuclear activity—precursors—tectonic plates —atmospheric electricity—electromagnetism—faults—earthquake lights—solar wind—thermal anomalies—solar activity—magnetosphere—ground gases—earth tides—planets—atmosphere—weather changes—animal behavior—human-caused earthquakes
... In fact, changes in the locomotive activities of mice before large EQs were reported by Yokoi et al. [11] and Li et al. [12]. Lott et al. [48] reported that ratios of UABs prior to EQs differed between some events, even if these occurred with similar distance, depth and magnitude. Longitudinal observations could enable to know that animals show UABs more frequently prior to what kind of EQs. ...
Article
Full-text available
Simple Summary Large earthquakes (EQs) cause severe damage to property and people. They occur abruptly, and it is difficult to predict their time, location, and magnitude. However, there are reports of abnormal changes occurring in various natural systems prior to EQs. Unusual animal behaviors (UABs) are important phenomena. These UABs could be useful for predicting EQs, although their reliability has remained uncertain yet. We report on changes in particular animal species preceding a large EQ to improve the research on predicting EQs. Abstract Unusual animal behaviors (UABs) have been observed before large earthquakes (EQs), however, their mechanisms are unclear. While information on UABs has been gathered after many EQs, few studies have focused on the ratio of emerged UABs or specific behaviors prior to EQs. On 11 March 2011, an EQ (Mw 9.0) occurred in Japan, which took about twenty thousand lives together with missing and killed persons. We surveyed UABs of pets preceding this EQ using a questionnaire. Additionally, we explored whether dairy cow milk yields varied before this EQ in particular locations. In the results, 236 of 1,259 dog owners and 115 of 703 cat owners observed UABs in their pets, with restless behavior being the most prominent change in both species. Most UABs occurred within one day of the EQ. The UABs showed a precursory relationship with epicentral distance. Interestingly, cow milk yields in a milking facility within 340 km of the epicenter decreased significantly about one week before the EQ. However, cows in facilities farther away showed no significant decreases. Since both the pets’ behavior and the dairy cows’ milk yields were affected prior to the EQ, with careful observation they could contribute to EQ predictions.
Article
This paper examines the international research on abnormal animal behavior prior to earthquakes, with a focus on Chinese seismology during the Cultural Revolution. China experienced a series of powerful earthquakes in the 1960s and 1970s; in response, its scientists developed approaches to earthquake prediction, including the use of bio-sentinels. The paper demonstrates that Chinese seismology did not treat an earthquake simply as a geophysical event, but rather as an amalgam of environmental phenomena, including sensory experiences. Hence, distributive experience and sensory networks of humans and bio-sentinels constituted an important component of studying the environment. This historical case suggests insights into bio-monitoring of the global environment.
Article
Full-text available
One of the most difficult problems in earthquake prediction research remains that of observing precursory anomalies. A solid data base of numerous cases of a variety of precursory anomalies is needed in order to develop detailed models of the physical processes involved and to estimate variances between individual cases. Once this data base is available it may become possible to design procedures for optimizing the success rate of predictions and for using predictions in hazard mitigation. The data base of high quality precursory anomalies is slowly growing.
Article
It is reported that wo long-term predictions of major earthquakes by U. S. scientists have come true. (AIP)
Article
This report documents the response of wild mantled howlers (Alouatta palliata) to coseismic activity (seismic activity at the time of an earthquake). During field work on the north coast of Honduras, data were collected on a habituated troop of mantled howlers as they responded to coseismic activity. The seismic event occurred on 13 February 2001 at 0822 hours local time with a magnitude of Richter scale 6.6, focus depth of approximately 15 km at a distance of 341 km from the epicentre to the field site, Cuero y Salado. At the field site, based upon Jeffreys and Bullen (1988), body waves, noted as P and S waves, arrived at 60 and 87 s, respectively, with surface waves arriving approximately 103 s post-origin time of the seismic event. While there are three reports on non-human primate response to coseismic activity in the literature, they report on captive non-human primates. This is the first documented response on a non-captive troop. In addition, this report compares the intensity measure encountered by a wild troop of howlers and one captive group of orangutans as set out by the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale. The Modified Mercalli measure of intensity is one of two standard measures of seismic activity and rates what a person sees and feels at their location (Wood and Neumann 1931; Richter 1958). Thus, arboreal nonhuman primates are found to respond to coseismic activity ranging from Level IV to Level VI as based upon the modified Mercalli intensity scale.
Article
Full-text available
Following two moderate earthquakes, reports of the behavior of animals prior to the earthquakes were gathered using a standardized interview schedule. This schedule was developed to maximize the reliability and validity of the reports through the application of accepted social science methodology. Interviews with 50 households near Willits, California, produced 17 reports of unusual animal behavior prior to that earthquake. Only one of thirty-five interviewees who experienced a similar earthquake near Ovando, Montana, reported unusual animal behavior prior to the earthquake. This difference in the frequency of positive reports and the content of the positive reports from Willits support the inference that a number of animals at Willits were responding to physical precursors which were absent at Ovando. The behavior reported at Willits was unusual in the sense that there was no immediate explanation for it, but it was not bizarre. On the contrary, it was always behavior typical of that species when motivated by generalized anxiety. Unusual behavior was often reported in only one or a few animals at a particular location so that even at Willits most animals were described as having behaved normally.
Article
Full-text available
A DESTRUCTIVE earthquake occurred north of Van in East Anatolia on 24 November 1976 at 12:22:18.3 GMT (USGS epicentre: 39.10°N and 44.02°E; average magnitude: M s = 7.3). The earthquake did extensive damage, destroyed more than 80% of the dwellings in a 2,000 km2 area and caused more than 4,000 deaths. In this area of complicated geology1–3, this was the only known large earthquake in the last century according to seismicity catalogues4–5 and the recollection of villagers. The fault trace and the displacement were clearly visible and could be mapped for the total length of the fault. Furthermore, any precursory phenomena that might have preceded the earthquake as perceived by the local residents along the whole fault could be investigated. We summarise here the results of extensive field investigations carried out during the first 10 days immediately following the earthquake, and again in July 1977.
Article
An analysis of 157 existing items of data concerning abnormal animal behaviour prior to an earthquake brings out apparent precursors of two kinds: moderately short-range and extremely short-range precursors; these have precursor times of the order of days and of hours, respectively. The moderately short-range precursor, if it is a precursor at all, covers the time range for which very few geophysical precursors are observed, and in such a case the animal precursor supplements the geophysical one. The nature of extremely shortrange animal precursors is similar to that of geophysical precursors for the same time range. Although it is hard to establish the validity of animal precursors from the present statistics, modern reports from China, Italy and other countries seem to support the existence of such precursors even if the reason why animals are sensitive to usually unmeasurable stimulations preceding an earthquake is not very well understood.
Article
To determine whether reports of unusual animal behavior before earthquakes are plausible, we have compared these reports with recent laboratory studies of animal sensory thresholds. Our major conclusion is that some animals are much more capable than humans of perceiving certain kinds of geophysical stimuli which may precede earthquakes. These geophysical stimuli are seismic or acoustic waves at low frequency (below 50Hz), electric field changes, and olfactory stimuli. We find no evidence that magnetic field precursors or precursory high-frequency (above 10kHz) sounds are the cause of unusual animal behavior before earthquakes. Knowledge of animal sensory capabilities may suggest an instrumental strategy for detecting earthquake precursors.-Authors Univ of Texas at Austin, Marine Sci Inst, Galveston, Texas 77550, USA.
Article
REPORTS of strange animal behaviour in my home village, which was struck by the Friuli earthquake in northeastern Italy (6 May 1976) convinced me that aerosol particles were electrostatically charged before the quake and that the physiological effects were essentially caused by an increase of the ion concentration in the air resulting in reactions such as the serotonin irritation syndrome. A mechanism is suggested here for the liberation of electrical charge from underground: electrochemical glow discharge.
Article
Flashbulb Memories are memories for the circumstances in which one first learned of a very surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) event. Hearing the news that President John Kennedy had been shot is the prototype case. Almost everyone can remember, with an almost perceptual clarity, where he was when he heard, what he was doing at the time, who told him, what was the immediate aftermath, how he felt about it, and also one or more totally idiosyncratic and often trivial concomitants. The present paper reports a questionnaire inquiry into the determinants of such memories by asking about other assassinations, highly newsworthy events, and personally significant events. It is shown that while the Kennedy assassination created an extraordinarily powerful and widely shared flashbulb memory, it is not the only event that has created such memories. The principal two determinants appear to be a high level of surprise, a high level of consequentiality, or perhaps emotional arousal (assessed by both rating scales and ethnic group membership). If these two variables do not attain sufficiently high levels, no flashbulb memory occurs. If they do attain high levels, they seem, most directly, to affect the frequency of rehearsal, covert and overt, which, in turn, affects the degree of elaboration in the narrative of the memory that can be elicited experimentally. Parallels are made explicit between the behavioral theory and a less elaborated, speculative neuro-physiological theory of which R. B. Livingston (1967) is the proponent Finally, an argument is made that a permanent memory for incidental concomitants of a surprising and consequential (in the sense of biologically significant) event would have high selection value and so could account for the evolution of an innate base for such a memory mechanism.
Article
The experimentally produced flight of one pigeon elicits alarmed flight in conspecifics, provided that the first bird's take-off is not preceded by preflight movements that predict its occurrence. Therefore, the ‘meaning’ of the take-off as an alarm signal depends on its behavioural context.