Send in the toads to test for quakes

Story from AFP via Breitbart, h/t to Leif Svalgaard. Maybe the Chinese had it right way back then with this gadget:

Chinese seismoscope, original image source unknown

The earliest seismoscope was invented by the Chinese philosopher Chang Heng in A.D. 132. This was a large urn on the outside of which were eight dragon heads facing the eight principal directions of the compass. Below each dragon head was a toad with its mouth opened toward the dragon. When an earthquake occurred, one or more of the eight dragon-mouths would release a ball into the open mouth of the toad sitting below. Image: USGS

Toad is a telltale for impending quakes: scientists

For ages, mankind has craved a tool that can provide early warning of that terrifying moment when the earth begins to shake.

But if a scientific paper published on Wednesday is confirmed, we may at last have found one.

The best hope yet of an earthquake predictor could lie in a small, brown, knobbly amphibian, it suggests.

The male common toad (Bufo bufo) gave five days’ warning of the earthquake that ravaged the town of L’Aquila in central Italy on April 6, 2009, killing more than 300 people and displacing 40,000 others, the study says.

Biologist Rachel Grant of Britain’s Open University embarked on a toad-monitoring project at San Ruffino lake, 74 kilometres (46 miles) north of L’Aquila, 10 days before the 6.3-magnitude quake struck.

Her two-person team observed the site for 29 days, counting toad numbers and measuring temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall and other conditions.

By March 28, more than 90 male toads had mustered for the spawning season, but two days later, their numbers suddenly fell, Grant reports.

By April 1 — five days before the quake — 96 percent of the males had fled.

Several dozen ventured back on April 9 for the full moon, a known courtship period for toads, although the tally was some 50-80 percent fewer than in previous years.

After this small peak, the numbers fell once more, only picking up significantly on April 15, two days after the last major aftershock, defined as 4.5 magnitude or higher.

In addition, the number of paired toads at the breeding site also dropped to zero three days before the quake. And no fresh spawn was found at the site from April 6 until the last big after-tremor.

Grant says the toads’ comportment is a “dramatic change” for the species.

Once male toads hole up at a breeding site, they usually never leave until the annual spawning season is over, she notes.

Eager to answer the riddle, Grant obtained Russian measurements of electrical activity in the ionosphere, the uppermost electromagnetic layer in the atmosphere, which were picked up by very low frequency (VLF) radio receivers.

The toads’ two periods of exodus both coincided with bursts of VLF disruption.

Read the entire article at Breitbart

107 thoughts on “Send in the toads to test for quakes

  1. So instead of seismographs only, we need to find animals that are sensitive enough to give a couple days warming. Toads work where and when the toad breed.
    Earthquakes sound a lot different and more audible under water than out in the air. Perhaps amplified hydrophones would be of some use.

  2. O/T.

    “2010 Arctic sea ice sets record! (latest annual max extent on record)

    This is one story which will never be written by the MSM, and one thing Gore and the current envirowackos who run the gov’t in DC do NOT want you to know about.

    As most people know, the Arctic sea ice grows and wanes with the seasons, and in recent summers, has fallen far below its ‘historical’ (1979-2000) averages. This has prompted the likes of Al Gore to claim the North Pole would be ice free in the summer within a decade or so.

    A funny thing is happening on the way to the ice free Arctic, and that is the ice has been recovering each year since about 2005.

    This winter is particualarily interesting because those who follow such mundane things as maximum Arctic ice extent know that the ice in the northern hemisphere around the pole usually reaches its maximum extent around March 6. After that date, as the days get longer and the sun rises higher in the sky, the temps rise and the ice starts its inevitable melt.

    On March 8, 2010, the maximum Arctic sea ice extent was 14,375,000 KM2 (square kilometers). Most people thought that after the 8th, the ice would stop growing and begin its usual melt. I was of the opinion that the maximum would come later this year because of very cold temps around the Arctic, from Barrow, AK, to Iqaluit Ca, to Siberia. In addition the AO has switched and winds are favorable for more ice to remain bottled up in the Arctic. Lo and behold, after March 8, the sea ice kind of stabilized, and in the last week we have seen a spurt of growth. Yesterday, JAXA reported sea ice extent of 1,405,781 KM2.

    What makes this very significant is that the fact the ice is growing LATER into the year, at a time when it is typically shrinking, means the melt season will be shorter this year. This March 30 max annual ice extent is the latest annual max ice extent. If you look at the chart on the link for the last ten years, you will see 2003 had more ice as of today, but by the end of March it was shrinking rapidly. In another day or two, there will be more ice in the Arctic than has been there on April 1 in a decade.

    You will never see the MSM admit the ice is recovering, because how can you promote cap and tax if the world will not drown as a result of melting polar ice caps. Mother Nature is having the last word, and please pass this info along to your friends. Don’t let them and their children be deluded into thinking the polar bears are drowning.”

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2483856/posts

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/013681.html

  3. Eager to answer the riddle, Grant obtained Russian measurements of electrical activity in the ionosphere, the uppermost electromagnetic layer in the atmosphere, which were picked up by very low frequency (VLF) radio receivers
    Anybody can seeseveral examples of earthquake lights at Youtube.
    I have witnessed two big earthquake lights after quakes ended, the light flashes looked the same as an electrical substation explosion I witnessed years before.

  4. King Arthur- “Lancelot- tell me again how sheep’s bladders can be used to predict earthquakes, this new science fascinates me.”

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  5. Maybe. I sure wouldn’t spend a trillion dollars on this science, either, “dramatic change”, “unprecedented,” or not. The science here is cardboard thin, whether the researcher realizes it or not. And why not just monitor the VLF levels? I see no obvious evolutionary advantage for a toad of being able to predict earthquakes. A grant to pursue this? Sure, we’ve blown a lot more on worse science. It’s a travesty.

  6. Is the date: “April 1st” significant?

    Don’t tell anyone but I’m planning to issue a press release tomorrow outlining a brand new invention:

    CO2 air curtain

    This new innovative air curtain uses the heat blanketing properties of CO2 to effectively eliminate the tranmission of heat through the curtain making it an ideal way to prevent cold spots in stores, houses, factories!

    It also has the beneficial side effect of killing all pests, mice, rats … with only one small drawback!

  7. And my wife claims that when my left palm itches there’s big money coming my way!

    Woohoo! Still, I’ll keep relying on my divining rods…

  8. Sorry the above link relates instead to “french” toads, who succesfully forecasted last february’s chilean earthquake☺, the indian ones here:

  9. And here, a link for RF Emissions as earthquake precursors:

  10. And the chorus sings, “Correlation is not causation”
    Here is a nice map of earthquakes for the last 7 days.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/

    So where was the toad warning for these?

    or where was the mouse warning:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/animals/newsid_3033000/3033702.stm

    zebra, elephant, or more toads?

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/world/147764-did-animal-antics-warn-of-quake

    fish, birds, dogs?
    google search, “animals warn of earthquakes” 237,000 hits

    Chile had a magnitude 6.2 on Friday. Any animal alerts?

  11. “The toads’ two periods of exodus both coincided with bursts of VLF disruption.”

    Haven’t we been monitoring these waves for a while now? And nobody is keeping track of these bursts and checking them against earthquake activity? And what’s different about the toads’ monitoring of it?

    I don’t mean to wonder too much about this report, but if I’m a biologist studying toads and I notice something unusual, my first thought is not likely to be “let’s ask the Russians for data on electrical activity in the ionosphere.”

    Interesting stuff, nonetheless.

  12. so, where would the toads go? I mean, they can’t go far enough to get away from the quake, so what’s the point? not saying that there’s not a biological change in behavior, but I can’t see that “fleeing” is an evolved response to quakes.

    thus the behavior, while interesting, may not have much usefulness to earthquake prediction. If other events, which ARE an evolved response, also result in an earthquake prediction response, all the other events will yield false alarms for earthquakes, thus limiting usefulness for earthquake prediction.

    on the other hand, maybe they didn’t “flee” but rather went far underground where it’s, presumably, safer from falling debris, etc. THAT could be an evolved response with some utility.

    of course, this requires that quakes occurred frequently enough that the “hide” mutation would be selected because the “not hide” toads would be killed, which sounds unlikely because quakes are uncommon events for any particular locale.

    I’ll stop now before I talk myself into a circle.

  13. Enneagram (09:52:53) :
    These indian “toads” made it:

    I hope your Indian friend does not take offence.
    Chileans could import some pretty looking atelopus peruensis

  14. Although anecdotal, it is widely observed that many animals includes birds, house pets (dogs, cats) and others become highly agitated just prior to a seismic event.

    We had a downstate Illinois earthquake a few years ago, and the agitation of flocks of birds prior to the quake was widely reported. There are other signs, including sudden malodors in well-water (from release of sulfurous gases) etc.

    Didn’t know about the Chinese toad-basket, very cool! We modern humans think we are so smart, so how many Walls of China or Great Pyramids have we built lately?

  15. Using the logic of our AGW friends, we can prove that toads failing to mate cause catastrophic earthquakes.

    In Hawaii they also understood that failing to throw people into the volcano on a regular basis caused eruptions.

  16. Leave it to nature. Much smarter than we are in many respects.

    Who’d of thought the Arctic extent would be peaking now. Just when you think you have a grasp on things… God pulls a funny! LOL

  17. I seem to remember reading somewhere that a geologist in CA found that an increase in missing cat ads in the local paper often presaged an earthquake . So if you don’t warts , get a cat .

  18. Toads can perceive the future.

    I have been consulting a progression of toads for investment advice for many years.

  19. Ok fine, but do toads know the difference between weather and climate?

    I think not.

    But if I get a few million in grant money I’ll find out for sure.

  20. Here the abstract:
    ABSTRACT
    Various research workers have reported EM emission prior to earthquakes or during an earthquake sequence. In few cases, these EM emissions were consistently found during certain hours of the day. EM emission in semi-diurnal pattern spaced in time domain from the local noontime was
    observed in many examples prior to earthquakes / volcanic eruption. Also such emission was observed in a very wide frequency band from VLF to Microwave range. Besides this semi diurnal type of pattern, some other type of EM emission had diurnal pattern. This type was witnessed in Valsad [1991] and Chilean earthquake sequence [1960], in which it preceded semidiurnal pattern found in these earthquake sequences. The cause of this type of EM emission seems to be completely different than that for semidiurnal type. Efforts are made here to check whether the gravitational forces of the planetary alignments caused these types of RF emission. This paper discusses all these examples in details and discusses an application for the development of reliable monitoring of Earthquake/ Volcanic eruption precursors in the high seismicity area..

    V.G.Kolvankar, Seismology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai

  21. Rewind zzzzzzzzip. Next animal prognositcator. Thank you. Rewind zzzzzzzzip. Next…

    This is a really great example of one point defines a line and two points describe a curve.

    I have a physicist friend from Burma who swears that all of the elephants knew the 2004 tsunamis was coming and left the coast to avoid it.

    Off Topic. A recent conclave of geologists issued a consensus statement that it was a a bolide impact what done in the dinosaurs. This is still a very hotly contested issue, so a consensus is really important – isn’t it gang? That settled it in my mind. Despite the fact that thousands of geologists have been debating this since Louis Alvarez first proposed the idea in ’80 or ’81, this so-called consensus settled it.

    Consensus science – coming soon to a discpiline near you.

  22. The toads gave 5 days warning of the quake that was to kill 300 people.

    But nobody listened. Nobody listened.

    When will people ever learn?

  23. jorgekafkazar (10:04:41) said:

    Maybe. I sure wouldn’t spend a trillion dollars on this science, either, “dramatic change”, “unprecedented,” or not. The science here is cardboard thin, whether the researcher realizes it or not. And why not just monitor the VLF levels? I see no obvious evolutionary advantage for a toad of being able to predict earthquakes. A grant to pursue this? Sure, we’ve blown a lot more on worse science. It’s a travesty.

    Yes, this would be my objection as well. It would be localized, and the frequency of earthquakes would have to be such that they are likely enough to occur during the normal lifespan of the toads such that not reacting would remove a significant number of the genes for such behavior from the gene pool. If they occur at a frequency/period greater than about ten times the lifespan of a toad I would expect very little selection pressure to maintain the ability to detect these VLF signals unless they are also associated with other negative events.

  24. Confirmed by the observational “evidence” that all the “toadies” ran for cover as the earthquake of climate-gate was imminent.

    Concerning aftershocks, if the toadies start to “sing” will that too be a sign? ;-)

  25. And, last but not least, J.H.Nelson on Radio propagation correlated to planets’ position:

  26. False alarm, folks! I just spoke with one of those reluctant Ruffino toads and he told me he and his pals had abandoned the breeding site because the girl-toads were the ugliest crop to show up in half a century.

  27. Let’s see: Four-legged toads predict doom from earthquakes. Two-legged toads predict doom from global warming.

    Got it. :-)

  28. I immediately went down to my local pond to interview some of the toads.

    Me: Mr. Toad, what do you know about impending Earthquakes?

    Mr. Toad: “Brivvet, brivvet, creak, brivvet.”

    Me: “I see, do you see anything the future for Minnesota?”

    Mr. Toad: “Brivvet, ‘cap and trade’, Brivvet..”

    Then I realized I wasn’t talking to a toad, but a TODDIE!

  29. I thought that Chang Heng was the Chinese (Hong Kong) stock market index.

    Now I find out it is just some old frog lover.

    Learn something new at WUWT every day.

  30. Speaking of Chinese earthquakes; they say that if everybody in China jumped up in the air at the same time, it would cause a Richter scale 8.0 earthquake.

    Well probably two of them actually; one when they all jumped; and an after shock when they all landed again.

  31. I remember my biology teacher in high school saying that there was a local species of lizard that only lived on one side of a nearby fault line. Just because we humans have higher brain functions doesn’t mean we are any smarter than other animals.

  32. Biologist Rachel Grant of Britain’s Open University embarked on a toad-monitoring project at San Ruffino lake, 74 kilometres (46 miles) north of L’Aquila, 10 days before the 6.3-magnitude quake struck.

    apparently, the trick is to deploy your toads 10 days before the quake :-)

  33. “The male common toad (Bufo bufo) gave five days’ warning of the earthquake that ravaged the town of L’Aquila in central Italy on April 6, 2009, killing more than 300 people and displacing 40,000 others, the study says.”

    Sounds like the warning was worse than the quake.

  34. While interesting, seems to me they are jumping to conclusions. research into earthquake predictions include micro-seismic events, changes in oil well and fresh water spring flows, water table changes, changes in radon gas emissions and probably a few others. If the toads are in fact “sensing” something, I would think there are far more likely factors in that list than ionosphere disturbances.

  35. There is a long history of unusual animal behavior preceding large earthquakes. Frogs and toads are prolific among those reports and it’s known experimentally that they are also very sensitive to electromagnetic fields.
    Research has been conducted for a few years now studying the changes in pre-earthquake EM environments with the goal of providing a viable early warning system utilizing a network of ground based sensors and satellites monitoring the ionosphere. The toad study demonstrates a correlation with anecdotal biological responses to measurable causative effects in the ionosphere. Ultimately it helps validate the idea that we can monitor the Earth’s EM environment for pre-earthquake signatures.

  36. So toads and other creatures can know beforehand that major seismic events will occur, as shown by anecdotal reports with a small and growing amount of scientific backing.

    But it is “commonly known” to be impossible for humans to “predict” such events as that is superstitious nonsense with no scientific backing.

    Okay… Moving along now…

  37. I have a dog who is psychotic. Other than that she is a great dog. However, when a storm is coming up, she goes frantic. I assume she has gout or arthritis or some condition which causes her great discomfort when the barometer falls (since that happens to me). She runs all over the house, trying to get through each and every door that she finds. She has run into closets and bathrooms, and is quite confused when it doesn’t afford her relief. She remains completely miserable until the storm passes, and then goes back to doing normal dog stuff.

    So, toads could be doing the same thing. Leaving a particular area does not actually relieve their pain/anxiety/concern, but they feel the need to try and escape from the pain/anxiety/concern, which actually overrides their sex drives. So they are probably randomly hopping around, just trying various locations to see if they get relief. Once the trigger for this behavior is gone, they return to what they were doing.

    The hard part is trying to figure out what the trigger really is. Maybe one of the scientists was wearing some particularly repugnant after-shave on the days that the toads disappeared. The Scientific Method can be a bitch sometimes.

  38. Many of the here so clever and light comentators would be more seriously interested in digging with an open mind the issue and not just rejecting this toads’ tale whether they were living near the “pacific ring of fire”.

  39. What I see here IT IS NOT A JOKE when people lives are involve, so any approach should be welcomed.
    Though still “correlations”( a bad word for post-normal scientists)
    Those toads apparently sensed some electromagnetic disturbances which must drive anybody ask about it or at least read about them. Or we just choose to keep on watching the earthquake lights and dead people AFTER they ocurred , like an amusement through the media.

  40. Toads and earthquakes Ha! My unicorn told me he can predict approaching asteroids and volcanic eruptions in Southern Ontario. Time will prove his smug assertions wrong, I’m sure of it.

  41. This is a gadget which could be must for the Weather Shop
    NASA has authorized a group of US scientists and teachers to participate in research and support an educational element of NASA’s VLF radio experiments. This authorized group created “Interactive NASA Space Physics Ionospheric Radio Experiments”, or “The INSPIRE Project”. The INSPIRE Project uses a hand held radio receiver which is relatively easy to put together as an electronics kit for middle and high school students. The INSPIRE receiver has been designed to receive radio waves in the VLF frequency range (1-10 kilohertz). Over 1400 INSPIRE receiver kits have been distributed to students across the United States over the last seven years. The INSPIRE radio receivers can easily make exciting natural and manmade VLF observations.

    REPLY:
    I’ll have a look, Anthony

  42. The following public announcement could save your life:

    In the event of an outbreak of toad celibacy, sit down immediately, put your head between your knees and kiss your fanny goodbye. Remember:

    “WHEN THE TOADS STOP HUMPING, THE EARTHS STARTS BUMPING”

    REPLY:
    Bravo, best pun line I’ve seen in awhile – Anthony

  43. Many Chinese for a long time believe that activity of toads and any other kind of animals and birds are useful to predict quakes. It has been advocated before and after the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake.

    Toad activity in spring 2008 was claimed to be one of the precursors of the Wenchuan Earthquake on May 12, by a lot of Chinese AFTER the earthquake, and they blamed the scientists and officials for not predicting the quake for them (For some non-scientific reasons the Chinese government still keeps the hopeless earthquake prediction as one of their function). Among other rumors, many Chinese, even some “seismic researchers” believe that the Wenchuan Earthquake, which killed over 200, 000 people, was predictable. It took some scientists painfully to explain the statistics of precursor and earthquake.

    Among the debating, it is very funny that some people claimed that the instrument invented by Zhang Heng (Chang Heng) used toads to get the ball from the dragen, which indicated the ancestors 2000 years ago knew the significance of toad precursor. Actually that instrument can only “record” rather than “predict” a quake.

    I am sure this news will be translated to Chinese and will bring about new uproar. Sad to see such kind of paper got published.

    As for the relation between toad activity and earthquake, USGS has the explanation:

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/animal_eqs.php

  44. There is also a lot of folklore about animals knowing when a hard winter is coming. My favorite is “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder where Pa sees numerous animal warnings that the coming winter will be worse than anything he’d ever seen — thick rodent dens, birds migrating early and further. I’d love to know what there is to it and how the mechanism works if it’s true. Supposedly the foxes around here were fluffier than usual and we had more snow and cold than any of the last several winters.

  45. Janice (11:18:24)

    Interesting post and great points made. TY :)

    Speaking of… did anyone ever determine how birds are able to navigate during migrations?

  46. Some years ago in discussing with my daughter (a geophysicist) eye witness (ear witness?) events reported as having occurred before earthquakes, I remember mention of some hearing a high pitched thin sound prior to quakes and that dogs and other were reported to go beserk some time before the quake struck.

    The thought occurred to me that before the quake, there is a build up of shear forces in the ground and in sedimentary rocks, granites etc quartz, a piezoelectric mineral, is abundant. The build up in stress would (in this scenario) result in a build up of electric charge and that discharge of this would emit radio waves. I speculated that a house, other building,etc may act as a radio receiver. Since the only thing quicker than a sound wave through the ground would be electromagnetic, this seemed a plausible explantation if the eye witnesses were correct. I mentioned it to others over the years and I suggested possible instrumentation that could detect this piezoelectric build up near fault zones if it in fact occurred. So far everyone seemed to think I was a nutcase, I guess. This VLF stuff in the ionosphere seems even more way out so, now I don’t feel so bad.

  47. I’d be more impressed if there were a history of frogs (or any given animal behavior) that CONSISTENTLY preceded an earthquake by a set amount of time. E.g., do the frogs always disappear five days before an earthquake? Do they ever disappear and an earthquake doesn’t come?

  48. Hydrophones, seriously. Water transmits sounds quite differently, and the sound of rock on rock is deeply bass scale and beyond.
    Couple of million and I’ll be all set to make some seriously heavy rock & roll.

  49. Junk science. But a very convenient justification to employ toad researchers, and more of them – provided by, who else, toad researchers. Can see a whole worldwide toad-monitoring industry, presumably run by the UN.

    The North American versions of these toads are only briefly at the mating/spawning ponds. Thus it is normal that they would all leave. Did I miss it or was there some comparison between their normal time there and this year?

    I’m guessing… or should I say predicting… that this is nothing but a coincidence. The most obvious reason for that was stated by jorgekafkazar (10:04:41) who said:

    “I see no obvious evolutionary advantage for a toad of being able to predict earthquakes.”

    In fact, it would be SAFER for the toads to stay in the water during an earthquake. Thus the survival advantage would be to stay there.

    With all these freelance ‘scientists’ competing for funding, turning their chosen subjects, and thus their employment, into something vital or otherwise more important is the trend these days, and this has been getting worse.

    Supply and demand. The supply of ‘Conservation Biologists’ being pumped out of the ‘save the world’ faculties now greatly exceeds the actual need for them so they work very hard to maximize all threats and/or the alleged value of their work.

  50. Oh dear.

    Greece is an earthquake prone country. In 1980 we had an earthquage 80 km from Athens, ( actually the epicenter was where I have my vacation cottage) . It was a 6.2 followed by a 5.9 on the Richter scale and for about a month the whole region was shaking as if we were on a tree and somebody was shaking it.

    Everybody in science became a seismologist. A solid state physicist started studying the so called “telurian currents” that appear accompanying the earthquakes and with quite primitive statistics and primitive triangulations came up with “predictions” of the type : within ten days there will be a quake covering about a third of Greece.

    It was the classic case of science for the hoi polloi going rabid. Classical seismologists went wild against this, but the fellow had political cover and so kept on with the research and there exists a “school” that publishes such predictions in the archive system ( so as not to be accused of back fitting by the time a publication comes out) . Their statistics and triangulations have improved , but in a country where there are small quakes continuously and a 4 Richter once a month and a 5 every few months, when you give the prediction as 5+/-2 and two degrees by two in latitude longitude you can see that correlation and causation are mixed up.

    We had a quake closer to Athens in 1999, of course it was not predicted .

    The most recent prediction was for a quake of 5+/-1, +/- 1week, in a region north of Euboia a month ago. It did not happen.

    Yes, there are currents, and other precursor signals, but they cannot really be used with any consistency to warn a population and the only thing that happens is newspapers grab the headlines and people panic . ( does this remind you of anything?).

    On topic, one should order quakes during the mating season of these toads, I guess,

    BTW the chinese use obervations of the fauna for predicting quakes:

    http://rotstan.com/blog2/2006/12/28/snakes-and-quakes/

  51. I can’t believe anyone is taking this seriously. Do the toads know where the epicentre is going to be and then hop a few hundred miles to safety? Why did only the males go? Why did they come back when the coast was clear?

    Good grief.

  52. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6215991.stm

    Experts at the earthquake bureau in Nanning, in southern Guangxi province, monitor local snake farms via 24-hour internet video links.

    Scientists said the serpents can sense a quake from 120km (75 miles) away, up to five days before it happens.

    They respond erratically, even smashing into walls to escape, scientists said.

    “Of all the creatures on the Earth, snakes are perhaps the most sensitive to earthquakes,” Jiang Weisong, director of the earthquake bureau in Nanning, told The China Daily.

    The reptiles respond by behaving extremely erratically, he said.

  53. For folks wondering why this might have evolutionary advantage, consider that quakes often cause debris falls into low spots, like ponds. Further, toxic gases can be increased in wells (and one presumes ponds).

    So you are about to commit your entire life worth of offspring to a pond. Maybe not so advantageous to do it just before it fills with mud, rocks, and toxic soup. Better to wait a few days and check it out then.

    Where to go? Perhaps “up slope” away from from where stuff ends up in a crushing heap and where heavy toxic gasses accumulate… (Don’t forget the buffalo kills in Yosemite from toxic gasses and the “CO2 flood” from the African lakes). There have been plenty of driving forces over the millions of years of evolution to have put in place a “Run for the hills” response to “something feels icky”. (Ever wonder why the phrase isn’t “Run for the lake”? or “Run for the Valley”?…. )

    FWIW one family member is a very reliable barometer and can predict storms about 2 days in advance with nearly 100% accuracy. (barometric headaches are well attested) And people have been shown to have a tiny bit of magnetite in the brain, just like other animals that sense magnetic fields, so it’s not at all beyond the pale that a critter might sense changes in the magnetic fields around them. Birds navigate by it, so it had a precursor at some earlier (amphibian?) stage of evolution common to birds and mammals too.

    Just because we’re “tone deaf” to it doesn’t mean other are. Elephants can hear infrasound and use it to communicate over long distances beyond sight. A great quake would emit a vast amount of infrasound… If I heard a cannon shot in the infrasound I’d leave the beach too. So while “what they sense” is a bit unknown; I’d not write off “That they sense something” be it infrasound, gas chemical smells, or even mag field fluxes.

    FWIW I can sense infrasound when loud enough. It gives me a wobbly slightly disoriented and eventually headachy feeling. Because of this there are some cars and vans that I find uncomfortable to ride in for long drives. At first I didn’t know what it was, then figured out that when I got that “wobbly feeling in my head” it went away when all the other noises stopped and eventually figured out it was loud vibrations I couldn’t hear, but were shaking my vestibular canals. [ plugging ears and doing things to dampen low frequencies helped. part of the clue… and feeling vibrating panels with the finger tips was partial confirmation as well. no low vibrations, no problem.] While I don’t react enough to ‘sense a quake coming’ I could easily see other critters doing so.

    I do get the “wobbly feeling” during small quakes that don’t quite show up as shakers. Several times I’ve hit the USGS site to find a quake happened after the ‘wobbly’. I get nothing for a 1 or most 2s. I get a bit of “wobbly” between very high 2.x and 4. I feel the shaking for nearby 4s most of the time. It’s that “below 4 above 2.5″ more or less where I’ll “wobbly” but not feel any shake and check the USGS. But it’s subtile. Took me a long time to make the connection. Over 5 I’m just too focused on enjoying the ride to notice anything else ;-) but I’m spoilt now. After a 7.2 the 5.x are just no fun anymore. 6 or better is all that gives a thrill these days. Maybe I ought to go visit Chile…

  54. Electromagnetic Phenomena Related to Earthquakes and Volcanoes

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/sm07/sm07-sessions/sm07_GP41D.html

    Investigation of ULF magnetic pulsations, air conductivity changes, and infra red signatures associated with the 30 October Alum Rock M5.4 earthquake

    http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/9/585/2009/nhess-9-585-2009.html

    As much as some funions think it’s a joke, it’s deadly serious for anyone living with the constant threat of earthquakes as the most recent in Haiti and Chile have demonstrated. Those of us living with earthquakes want all the warning signs we can get for the big destructive ones. If certain critters are sensitive to changes in their electromagnetic environment and those same changes in EM fields can be monitored scientifically then we ought to pay attention to both and use all the tools available to predict and prepare. Reports of anomalous animal behavior could be used at times to alert monitoring systems to focus instruments on the area to determine if there is a real threat and act accordingly, possibly resulting in more time to protect life and property.

  55. Gary P (10:16:50) :

    > And the chorus sings, “Correlation is not causation”
    > Here is a nice map of earthquakes for the last 7 days.
    > http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/
    > So where was the toad warning for these?

    Depends, were those:

    1) in areas where toad breeding season was happening?
    2) in areas where toad behavior was being studied?

    The whole animal precursor stuff is fascinating but annoyingly anecdotal. There are enough hints of precursors that should lead to a huge number of things that could be studied. Why do people seem to miss them? One thought I came up with is an electrical potential in the ground. Four legged animals cover more distance than us two legged folk and should feel a stronger voltage than we do. Plus they tend not to wear shoes (or wear conductive iron horseshoes) and hence have much better electrical connection to the ground.

    Someone has got to be studying that, VLF radio emissions, etc. but I’ve heard very little in the way of results or non-results, which are important too. Personally I’d focus on ground issues and look for piezoelectric activity and subsonic audio. RF stuff is a derivitive effect.

    Ah, toads.

    When I was growing up in Ohio, I liked to treat the start of toad breeding season as the start of “real” spring. They’d generally show up on the day with the first warm night and tromp down to our pond and the males would start their wonderful trilling call. (This is the American Toad, Bufo americanus. From what I’m finding, the breeding season sounds very similar, but the breeding call very different.) I’d sleep with the bedroom window open, one that angled out so I could aim it to reflect pond sounds better.

    I never saw a season that was interrupted as described above. Something might happen if there was a sub-freezing cold snap, but the season generally started after that was likely.

    Our pond was one acre, my brother and I would bring the row boat for the season, generally I’d row around, and my brother would catch the all the toads we could find. One year we caught 45 males and 5 females. Once we let them all loose in the same spot, but the egg masses were such a mess that spread them more evenly around the pond in later years.

    My very favorite amphibian. Spring peepers are okay, bull frogs are impressive, Wood frogs in New England are interesting, but their season is too short and their clacking grunts just can’t match a good toad trill.

  56. anna v (12:38:46) :
    Yes, there are currents, and other precursor signals, but they cannot really be used with any consistency to warn a population
    Not necessarily to warn but to do prevention and preparedness work .The recent Chilean earthquake where many died after a tsunami was forecasted years before in the following paper

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/29247367/Ruegg-et-al-2009-1-1

  57. NickB. (12:28:01) : Speaking of… did anyone ever determine how birds are able to navigate during migrations?

    IIRC, it’s a combination of magnetic compass (via that magnetite grain in the brain), visual clues (ground terrain recognition), and light polarization clues. Someone fitted homing pigeons with contact lenses and Helmholtz coils to play with their inputs. Pigeons can swap from one system to another, so you need to blank out most / all of them to get the bird disoriented. Don’t remember when / where I read it… magazine? SciAm? Had a picture of a pigeon with wire coils on it’s head to homogenize the mag field… Also, IIRC, the ‘polarization’ was the big surprise. Took them a while to figure out that they needed to play with polarizing as people don’t see it (they had already expected the magnetic sense). But birds do. (That is also believed to be part of why they fly into windows. They don’t see the window as ‘being there’ due to the polarizing effect of the glass.) I have a vague remembrance of someone studying birds and solar / lunar navigation, but don’t remember if they concluded birds navigate by starts / moon or not. I think they did? in a general N/S sort of way. Hard to distinguish from terrain mapping for N/S…

    Gary Pearse (12:28:42) : Some years ago in discussing with my daughter (a geophysicist) eye witness (ear witness?) events reported as having occurred before earthquakes, I remember mention of some hearing a high pitched thin sound prior to quakes and that dogs and other were reported to go beserk some time before the quake struck.

    The thought occurred to me that before the quake, there is a build up of shear forces in the ground and in sedimentary rocks, granites etc quartz, a piezoelectric mineral, is abundant. The build up in stress would (in this scenario) result in a build

    Had a dog get exited before some quakes. Hard to distinguish from the dog getting exited about dinner, or before a cat… so we ignored it. Then the quake happened. Post diction? Donno…. but too hard to disambiguate for our dog from “happy to see you” or “unhappy to smell cat in yard” and from “need time alone in ‘smallest corner of yard’ NOW.”

    The rocks as piezotransducer thesis has had some traction. I think it’s almost certainly an effect that will be present. Just don’t see how to sense it in a way that can be interpreted as “quake soon” vs “quake in 20 years”. I’d expect detecting the infrasound of the fore-shocks to be easier. But who knows. Set up all the sensors then re-run the tapes after a dozen quakes.

    But that large quakes “do a lot of stuff” and that much of the “stuff” has precursor effects (like fore-shocks and piezoelectric-strain) is not in doubt. Just that learning how to listen to the data is the big issue… and for things with “brittle failure” you may not get a reliable ‘read’ from the data until just before the break happens… or just after 8-{

  58. E.M.Smith (13:38:38) : Then, if earthquake lights, as the ones I have seen, are evidently the outcome of an electrical/plasma phenomenon, as its end discharge, then what if the earthquake is disrupted by a field change as in a lightning, not from below but from above?

  59. Yarmy (12:40:43) :

    > Do the toads know where the epicentre is going to be and then hop a few hundred miles to safety?

    That would seem unlikely. I don’t know what a toad’s range is, but I think a group of Wood frogs in Plymouth NH may have frozen to death one year. I heard Wood frogs a few years later down the hill, so it would appear Wood frogs have a realtively small range. Toads probably range further since they are better adapted for dry land. Given the outcome, I’d say the toads were safe where they were.

    My _guess_ is that animals have a sense that “something is different/uncomfortable here, must find better place.”

    > Why did only the males go?

    It isn’t clear that was the case. They may have only been counting males:

    1) There are more of them.
    2) Females may leave after breeding.
    3) Only males make the breeding call, useful in finding them or getting a general sense of how many are out.

    > Why did they come back when the coast was clear?

    Umm, basic biology – all successful plants and animals are successful at procreation and many animals are will to take extreme chances for doing so. When the toads left is the far more interesting question. I found a toad with severe eye infections that had managed to make it to the pond. Instead of hiding from me, he readily clasped my fingers as though they were a female. Yes, toads have strong urges when the season is right.

    BTW, a lot of successful animals have a strong urge to eat when their fuel reserves are low. Funny how that works.

    > Good grief.

    Oh good grief yourself. This wasn’t a behavioral study of breeding toads and earthquakes, it was a study of breeding toads that was disrupted by an unanticipated earthquake. What do you expect the researchers to do? They could discard the data for the year because the earthquake brought such contamination. They could document what they measured and that could be used by other researchers in subsequent studies, some which might look for animal behavior before earthquakes.

    Had the researchers know that toads sense something related to earthquakes and that an earthquake was going to happen during breeding season, the study would have been very differently designed.

    Nothing in the story makes excessive claims, predictions, or anything of the sort that we hear from AGW alarmists. I find it quite refreshing.

    It’s clear you neither understand nor appreciate toads. A pity. :-)

  60. E.M.Smith (13:38:38) :

    NickB. (12:28:01) : Speaking of… did anyone ever determine how birds are able to navigate during migrations?

    IIRC, it’s a combination of magnetic compass (via that magnetite grain in the brain), …

    One aspect birds use that people usually don’t is the dip of the magnetic field. It’s parallel to Earth at the magnetic equator, perpendicular at the pols, and in between everywhere else. So it’s useful as a latitude sensor. (Combined with solar & season, it could also be used to derive longitude, but I doubt that has been studied.

    I have a vague remembrance of someone studying birds and solar / lunar navigation, but don’t remember if they concluded birds navigate by stars / moon or not. I think they did? in a general N/S sort of way. Hard to distinguish from terrain mapping for N/S…

    When terrain is ocean, stars can be very useful! Ditto during magnetic field flips (ornithologists will have a field “day” when that happens!)

    Indigo Buntings have been studied and found to learn the star positions while in the nest. Worth reading: http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_10_99.html

  61. E.M.Smith (13:03:15) wrote “For folks wondering why this might have evolutionary advantage, consider that quakes often cause debris falls into low spots, like ponds. Further, toxic gases can be increased in wells (and one presumes ponds).

    So you are about to commit your entire life worth of offspring to a pond. Maybe not so advantageous to do it just before it fills with mud, rocks, and toxic soup. Better to wait a few days and check it out then.”

    Sorry EM but this doesn’t really make sense. Only the male toads left. The females and all the eggs were still there. And that would not represent their “entire life worth of offspring” in any case – just one year’s worth.

    Moreover, the idea of this pond being filled with debris would only make sense if it has steep adjacent terrain that could fall into it- which toad spawning ponds rarely (if ever?) actually do.

    On the other hand, that Chinese snake story does make more sense because they could theoretically be escaping from crevices or whatever in the ground where they would be more vulnerable to earth movements and would also be able to feel anything far better than toads in water.

    This toad story seems to be a very obvious case of someone trying to turn a coincidence into a cause-effect. The spawning season was complete – note that no more eggs were left after the quake – so the males left. Such is the way with toads. They don’t cuddle or even call the next morning.

    P.S. Had the quake happened during their mating period, lots of great jokes to be made about how the earth moved for them.

    P.S. “buffalo kills in Yosemite”?

  62. “”” Enneagram (11:18:49) :

    Many of the here so clever and light comentators would be more seriously interested in digging with an open mind the issue and not just rejecting this toads’ tale whether they were living near the “pacific ring of fire”. “””

    Don’t confuse a bit of light hearted levity, with a failure to read and get the message.

    Most of us are aware that many animal species are a lot more sensible than humans when it comes to reacting to warnings of some coming severe event.

    Such as when the Indonesian Tsunami hit Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and whent eh tide suddenly rushed way out, the natives all ran out onto the empty mud; evidently thinking Moses had parted the sea for them; while the domestic cattle all headed for the higher ground; along with the wild animals.

    So we get the idea; and we also have a sense of humor.

  63. Enneagram (13:50:12) :

    E.M.Smith (13:38:38) : Then, if earthquake lights, as the ones I have seen, are evidently the outcome of an electrical/plasma phenomenon, as its end discharge, then what if the earthquake is disrupted by a field change as in a lightning, not from below but from above?

    My guess is that in an earthquake, the energy related to ripping rocks apart is so much greater than a related electrical discharge that something like a thunderstorm above the fault will have an unmeasurable effect.

  64. We need to get the word to Obama quick so he can hire 100,000 toad watchers. Good for jobs! Good for the economy! Yes we can!!!

  65. Ric Werme – I for one appreciate toads very much. We have two ponds on our property where Bufo borealis breed and I monitor their numbers and the annual toadlet production, and have for 14 years. Not as intensively as these toad specialists but close enough.

    In good years the ‘march of the toadlets’ up from this ponds is quite amazing. Can barely walk anywhere without stepping on some.

  66. Saw the picture above? The earliest seismoscope was invented by the Chinese philosopher Chang Heng in A.D. 132 …way before science was settled and almost two thousand years ago before Al “Baby”‘s incarnation.☺

  67. Well, accordig to Google Maps, there is no “San Rufino” or “San Ruffino” near l’Aquila.
    Suggestions?

  68. Janice (11:18:24) You know, women have less or no magnetite in their face bones that’s why they do not orientate as well as men, and this is because of lower hemoglobin levels.

  69. Enneagram (11:18:49) : “Many of the here so clever and light comentators would be more seriously interested in digging with an open mind the issue and not just rejecting this toads’ tale whether they were living near the ‘pacific ring of fire’.”

    “If a scientist has one piece of temperamental equipment that is essential to his job, it is that of a built-in doubter. Before he does anything else, he must doubt. He must doubt what others tell him and what he reads in reference books, and, most of all, what his own experiments show him and what his own reasoning tells him.”–Isaac Asimov, “My Built-In Doubter”

  70. Oops. I read the article too fast. There apparently was more eggs laid after the quake so the spawning season there was not entirely over.

    Still don’t buy the quake effect. Note the other unusual factors, the many possible factors not mentioned, and the simple fact that one essentially anecdotal incident cannot be translated into some grand theory.

  71. Sorry, I just don’t buy this. It’s likely just a coincidence.

    People have debated the evolution of something like this above…seriously, how can you even consider it? What percentage of toads die in an earthquake in a typical forest? Not very many. How many earthquakes of sufficient magnitude in a toad’s lifespan? Very few or even zero. Sorry, but because of those two things, any selection pressure (as an engineer would think, driving force) would be so low as to be trivial. I’d be much more open to the simple and non-scientific (though not necessarily wrong) explanation that “God made them that way.”

    Now, an argument that might be worth listening to is that the normal perceptions of the toads caused it to be “put off” by something in the vicinity before the earthquake (sound, etc). If so, what sense/perception was triggered and why don’t we have an instrument that can measure it? But to think that earthquakes caused natural selection/evolution to drive this…no way, IMO. I guess I’ve seen crazier stuff pinned to the NS/evo combination though.

  72. E. M. Smith
    After a 7.2 the 5.x are just no fun anymore. 6 or better is all that gives a thrill these days. Maybe I ought to go visit Chile…>>

    Nah, they’re done for a bit. you gotta find the next one not the last one. Have you tried just licking the toad?

  73. Ric Werme (13:23:38) :

    Gary P (10:16:50) :

    > And the chorus sings, “Correlation is not causation”
    > Here is a nice map of earthquakes for the last 7 days.
    > http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/
    > So where was the toad warning for these?

    Depends, were those:

    1) in areas where toad breeding season was happening?
    2) in areas where toad behavior was being studied?

    The whole animal precursor stuff is fascinating but annoyingly anecdotal. There are enough hints of precursors that should lead to a huge number of things that could be studied. Why do people seem to miss them? One thought I came up with is an electrical potential in the ground. Four legged animals cover more distance than us two legged folk and should feel a stronger voltage than we do. Plus they tend not to wear shoes (or wear conductive iron horseshoes) and hence have much better electrical connection to the ground.

    Someone has got to be studying that, VLF radio emissions, etc. but I’ve heard very little in the way of results or non-results, which are important too. Personally I’d focus on ground issues and look for piezoelectric activity and subsonic audio. RF stuff is a derivitive effect.
    _____________

    Since you asked here is a link to a geologist that has been studying a whole spectrum of electromagnetic effects for at least 10 to 15 years, I have had some communication with him over the years, and added to his tip jar a couple times, well worth the read of the whole site….

    http://www.geo-seismic-labs.org/

  74. I think it is unlikely that the toads are reacting to the earthquake itself. Let’s face it: Toads are so low to the ground they’re unlikely to even fall over in an earthquake, and living in a pond has its advantages in respect of nothing dropping on you.

    The tsunami danger is likely to be limited too.

    So there are many questions to be answered such as: What *are* they reacting to?

    IMHO, it is electrical activity. I would imagine toads on sensing a rising potential would vacate the pond. Being in a body of water when lightning hits it would probably smart quite a bit.

    In other words, this sensitivity to earthquakes is probably accidental. But that doesn’t mean we can’t exploit it.


  75. Enneagram (11:31:43) :

    What I see here IT IS NOT A JOKE when people lives are involve, so any approach should be welcomed.
    Though still “correlations”( a bad word for post-normal scientists)
    Those toads apparently sensed some electromagnetic disturbances which must drive anybody …

    Do you have any idea how many earth tremors/quakes are happening at any given time?

    Should be a “NO BRAINER” to prove the correlation between ‘VLF’ and earth tremors but the thin-theories proposed on this subject I am of the mind they won’t bear fruit/yield results.

    Speaking as a ham, who has listened to his fair share of ‘dead air’ … the ONLY source of ‘noise’ (besides the man-made variety) have been SOLAR sources* (witnessed one day six years ago and confirmed the solar source with the plotted results of the HAARP VHF Riometer operating at/near 30 MHz) …

    Current real-time HAARP VHF Riometer readings: http://137.229.36.30/cgi-bin/riometer/riom2_sel.cgi

    Quake sheet; last hour, day, week: http://www.drudgereport.com/quake.htm

    * A few exceptions, e.g. Jupiter noise: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/20feb_radiostorms.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_astronomy

    Wickipedia: VLF – Very low frequency or VLF refers to radio frequencies (RF) in the range of 3 kHz to 30 kHz. Most ppl should be able to hear half that range … a couple probes ‘stuck in the earth’ and you’ll hear whistlers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistler_(radio)

    Some recordings: http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/mcgreevy/

    NASA on-line (live): http://www.spaceweather.com/glossary/inspire.html (Note: INSPIRE)

    Build your own whistler receiver: http://www.stormwise.com/project5.htm

    MODS, TAKE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A HAARP POST but is serious science post.

    .
    .

  76. Not sure last post made it …


    Enneagram (11:31:43) :

    What I see here IT IS NOT A JOKE when people lives are involve, so any approach should be welcomed.
    Though still “correlations”( a bad word for post-normal scientists)
    Those toads apparently sensed some electromagnetic disturbances which must drive anybody …

    Do you have any idea how many earth tremors/quakes are happening at any given time?

    Should be a “NO BRAINER” to prove the correlation between ‘VLF’ and earth tremors but the thin-theories proposed on this subject I am of the mind they won’t bear fruit/yield results.

    Quake sheet; last hour, day, week: http://www.drudgereport.com/quake.htm

    Wickipedia: VLF – Very low frequency or VLF refers to radio frequencies (RF) in the range of 3 kHz to 30 kHz. Most ppl should be able to hear half that range … a couple probes ‘stuck in the earth’ and you’ll hear whistlers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistler_(radio)

    Some recordings: http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/mcgreevy/

    NASA on-line (live): http://www.spaceweather.com/glossary/inspire.html (Note: INSPIRE)

    Build your own whistler receiver: http://www.stormwise.com/project5.htm

    .
    .

  77. An addenda (which caused the hold-up of the previous post attempt) –

    Speaking as a ham, who has listened to his fair share of ‘dead air’ … the ONLY source of ‘noise’ (besides the man-made variety) have been SOLAR sources* (witnessed one day six years ago and confirmed the solar source with the plotted results of the H A A R P VHF Riometer operating at/near 30 MHz) …

    Current real-time H A A R P VHF Riometer readings: http://137.229.36.30/cgi-bin/riometer/riom2_sel.cgi

    * A few exceptions, e.g. Jupiter noise: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/20feb_radiostorms.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_astronomy

    Note, mods, there is the legitimate use of a word above that causes a post to go straight down the rabbit hole …

    .
    .

  78. An addenda (which caused the hold-up of the previous post attempt) –

    Speaking as a ham, who has listened to his fair share of ‘dead air’ … the ONLY source of ‘noise’ (besides the man-made variety) i have experienced has been SOLAR sources* (witnessed one day six years ago and confirmed the solar source with the plotted results of the xxxxxxxx VHF Riometer operating at/near 30 MHz) …

    Current real-time xxxxxxxxx VHF Riometer readings: http://137.229.36.30/cgi-bin/riometer/riom2_sel.cgi

    * A few exceptions, e.g. Jupiter noise: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/20feb_radiostorms.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_astronomy

    Note, mods, there is the legitimate use of a word above that causes a post to go straight down the rabbit hole …

    .
    .

  79. Re: _Jim (17:41:22), (17:52:49), (18:18:43), and (18:22:41)

    Okay, I give up. Just what is it you were so worried about that you thought things wouldn’t post because of it?

  80. The following is my critique of the findings of the scientists:

    1. What controls were in place to ensure the detectability of the presence of the two person scientific team remained as consistent as possible to the toads during the 29 days?
    2. You state quite clearly this has not been observed before, so this is simply one observation.
    3. The behavior of only 90 male toads is considered from only one location.
    4. The males fled but supposedly not the females, so what attribute distinct to male toads is suggested here?
    5. The scientist notes that the male toads usually never leave the mating site early. So, was this a case of a normal “usual” leaving coinciding with an earthquake days later?

    I suggest this is not an indication that male toads have an insight into pending earthquakes. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

  81. Sorry, but the image of fleeing toads conjures up so many metaphorical possibilities that my brain just shut down.

  82. Here is an example of trying to use electric signals as precursors of earthquakes:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0711.3766

    Classical seismology can “predict” with a few year horizon, from historical records and the gathering of stresses at faults. This is useful for prevention planning and building codes.

    These people “predict” for a week or ten days. The difference is that in a population where people’s ancestors have survived because they jumped out of a bed fast, the panic gene is strong, and a newspaper article coming out saying: “the Varotsos team predicts an earthquake within so many days” is very stressful and economically damaging, particularly when it does not happen.
    And the prediction areas are so large, that the whole thing is useless except for study for improvements, imo. Should never be given to the media.

  83. “Eager to answer the riddle, Grant obtained Russian measurements of electrical activity in the ionosphere, the uppermost electromagnetic layer in the atmosphere, which were picked up by very low frequency (VLF) radio receivers”.

    No brainer for the plasma model – measure the earth’s electric field in earthquake prone regions. Earthquakes in this view are subterranean electric discharges that occur after a period of internal electric charge build up.

  84. Ric Werme

    “The whole animal precursor stuff is fascinating but annoyingly anecdotal. ”

    Seriously, because it’s complete rubbish. Some of the logic here reminds me of people trying to use ball lightning to explain crop circles when it was two blokes in a pub having a laugh. Animals behave in unexpected ways all the time.

  85. The frogs that live in my garden pond exhibit this behaviour every year.
    They emerge from hibernation when the weather is warm enough and for two to three weeks there is much frantic and noisy activity while spawning takes place. Then almost overnight the frogs disappear, I guess back into their hibernating locations. They re-emerge when the weather has warmed a bit more, presumably enough to support the appearance of their food source. Here in the UK where the falling of a chimney pot due to an earth quake is national news, I have never observed this activity coinciding with any earthquake. I suspect that were my pond to be in Italy I could publish an article about this phenomenon and the frogs’ earthquake predicting abilities – if I could get a grant.

  86. New Zealanders on their ‘Shaky Isles’ live with earthquakes and only idiots take them lightly. Most of us have experienced the strange hush from the entire usually-audible animal world in the few minutes before the earth begins to bump/shake/undulate. I always put it down to animals having better hearing and they could hear the rumble before we could.


  87. Louis Hissink (23:05:56) :

    No brainer for the plasma model – measure the earth’s electric field in earthquake prone regions. Earthquakes in this view are subterranean electric discharges that occur after a period of internal electric charge build up.

    Pls describe the method of charge build-up (charge separation);is it triboelectric effect (glass-rod cat’s fur effect) or piezoelectric (physical flexure of a crystalline structure)?

    Considering the surface/most of the earth is conductive (albeit poor, in some locales), how does this ‘charge’ sustain itself without bleeding off (leaking away) or constant sourcing (re-charging) of same?

    How is a surface charge’ transferred to the ionosphere through a substantially non-conductive troposphere?

    Refs:

    Triboelectrric effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triboelectric_effect

    Piezo electric effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity

    .
    .


  88. kadaka (19:24:09) :

    Re: _Jim (17:41:22), (17:52:49), (18:18:43), and (18:22:41)

    Okay, I give up. Just what is it you were so worried about that you thought things wouldn’t post because of it?

    There are MORE than enough clues already posted …

    AND it wasn’t worry; you weren’t in the pilot’s seat (sitting behind my keyboard) when posts simply disappeared down the rabbit hole in complete contradiction to normal, expected client-server behavior when making a post on Anthony’s site …

  89. Gary Hladik (14:46:59) : Wish you “sweet dreams”, Oh no, I meant “Sweet Doubts”, peripathetic doubts: Mark a point on the ground then go round and round and round walking and doubting at the same time..Hope some time you stop doubting to go somewhere else.

  90. Gary Hladik (14:46:59) :I am now sure you have no doubts of your doubts and that, by your principles, it is not scientific, so you are making me doubt about it. :-)

  91. Smoking toad-slightly OT. A guy in my hometown had a huge pet bullfrog that he somehow had taught it to smoke cigarettes. He actually puffed on them. Very intellectual looking frog with that smoke in his mouth. I don’t think he could predict anything though.

Comments are closed.