Color me very irritated that mainstream media are giving this story ANY attention whatsoever. It’s not new, it’s not news, and it has zero basis in reality but may create a panic. Good going media for passing on unethical nonsense as sciencey-looking news, once again. ANY crank can say “earthquakes are predictable”. Words are cheap and get attention. If it was true, we’d already have figured this basic stuff out, don’t you think? Ugh, media… STOP GIVING ATTENTION TO THESE PEOPLE.
Mainstream science says that earthquakes cannot be predicted, but David Nabhan author of “Earthquake Prediction: Answers in Plain Slight” says otherwise.
Nabhan is a former teacher in California and now lives in Pittsburgh. He became interested in earthquakes while he was the earthquake preparedness coordinator for the school he worked at. He says he noticed every earthquake happened at dusk or dawn.
How can earthquakes be predicted? Nabhan says that it is the, “conjoined lunar and solar gravitational tides,” are what cause them.
Nabhan says July 12 and Sept. 9, between 4:45 to 7:55 a.m. and/or p.m.
There is a long history of earthquake prediction failure. There has NEVER EVER been a solid system of earthquake prediction. I’m not kidding and I’m not just pooh-poohing this. I am a geologist and have done quite a bit of research on earthquake prediction and disaster preparation. The idea of earth tides and solar/lunar alignments (syzygy) is old and hasn’t panned out. REAL SCIENTISTS HAVE LOOKED. (Kennedy, M., Vidale, J.E., and Parker, M.G. 2004. “Earthquakes and the moon: syzygy predictions fail the test.” Seismological Research Letters 75 (5): 607–612.)
Yet, there are several notable cranks who continue to predict based on this method, such as Jim Berkland. If it worked — we would have known about it by now. According to USGS scientists: Berkland’s predications appear to be “self-selected statistical analysis of historical seismicity rates and are so vague in time and location that they are certain to be correct.” The same can be said for Nabhan. I wonder if he and Berkland ever got together?
How ignorant to think trained seismologists who see far more data would not pick up such an obvious pattern. The hubris is typical of a pseudoscientific crank. It’s not ethical to yell fire in a theatre. It’s not ethical to yell earthquake coming with NO history of scientific knowledge (or any records of success) to back you up.
There remains an extremely slight plausibility for the lunar effect to trigger earthquakes. However, if this had any merit or real effect, it has to be in areas already primed for quake. Earthquakes are not more common during syzygy. An occasional occurrence during specific moon phases is bound to occur by chance.
Nabhan only predicts for Southern California. If any quake, even a small one, takes place during this prediction window, he will take credit. Why didn’t he give some control windows? Predictions aren’t significant for one-off events. He has to show that there is a consistent pattern. (As I mentioned, that’s been studied and hasn’t happened). The odds are not bad that there will be one at any time in this highly active area. This is not only a cheap prediction, it’s a ploy for publicity. Nabham says he’s been doing this for 15 years. Since when is science done through a badly formatted website and media interviews? Nabham appears to have no training in scientific research, geology, geophysics or seismology. Therefore, he’s talking out of his sphere of knowledge.
The Wikipedia page on earthquake prediction has a number of examples where prediction made sense due to various data and was marginally successful in a few cases but utter failure in most, sometimes costing a ton of money due to the false predictions. This is just another case of a self-deluded person thinking he knows what the experts don’t. Knowledge doesn’t work that way except in your own head. He wants you to contact the Governor of California to encourage him to take heed. Sure…
I’m going to head off complaints by Mr. Nabhan who looks like he has a history of whining that critics don’t contact him for information. You are not in any way qualified to give information, Mr. Nabhan, and as is our policy here, we are media critics and a science-based site, not a platform for nonsense. When you have real data publish it in a scientific journal. Then we’ll talk.