Residents reported an earthquake on the coast and in the interior of SP
The 4.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the coast and inland of São Paulo may have been “pre-perceived” by some animals, such as birds and dogs. According to the US Geological Survey, the creatures have the ability to perceive one of two types of “waves” that make up an earthquake.
However, this perception of the animals would have occurred a few seconds before the earthquake occurred, not days or weeks before the earthquake, as the USGS warned.
According to the Geological Survey, there would already be a scientific reason to justify the idea that animals are better able to feel small tremors seconds before an earthquake strikes.
However, there is also research that indicates that this topic needs further study, as indicated by the Center for Earth Sciences Research and the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences in Germany, in a study that evaluated 180 cases, but concluded that it is difficult to consider that the animals showed abnormal behavior or even “predicted” the earthquake.
Research indicates that animals feel a shiver
Researchers who claim that animals can perceive tremors before humans rely on the existence of two types of seismic waves associated with earthquakes:
- to P wavesthe first is emitted by an earthquake, which travels at a speed of several kilometers per second from the epicenter;
- to S wavessecondary, which makes the earth shake.
Few humans can feel P waves, but many animals with keen senses sense them before the S waves arrive.
Martin Wikelski, director of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior, published research on this topic in 2020.
It is not known why the animals feel the lightest waves, but he claims that in the research, the animals were observed changing their behavior about 45 minutes before the earthquakes detected in Italy. Here are some examples of the behavior:
- cows stand still and do not move;
- The dogs get upset, and start barking a lot;
- The sheep are confused
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According to the Washington Post, in 2018, a review of 700 records of animal behavior before earthquakes concluded that it was still not possible to reach a conclusion.
In this review, we attempted to find out whether animals sense earthquakes before seismic machines sense them. The study concluded that much of the evidence was unreliable.
In a 2018 survey conducted by the Earth Sciences Research Center and the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the conclusion was that the data assessed was incomplete and, therefore, it could not be said that earthquakes were predicted by animals.
According to the study, it is difficult to apply a methodology that enables the classification of animal behavior, as well as the use of this behavior, however abnormal it may seem, as a “prediction” factor for a seismic event.
Thus, the consensus is that animals, because they have greater sensory sensitivity, feel the first waves of tremors before humans, which can induce alert behavior. Other theories could not be confirmed.
Tales from ancient Greece
Reports dealing with animal behavior prior to seismic events are outdated. In 373 BC, the Greek historian Thucydides reported that the animals left the city of Helix before a devastating earthquake occurred.
The same thing happened before the 1805 Naples earthquake and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
There are even records of horses panicking moments before the earthquake in San Francisco, USA, in 1906.
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