Whale stranding in Japan has locals speculating that another disaster is on the way and also has them anomaly hunting for hints of a coming earthquake.
This piece mainly focuses on the dolphin mass mortality event but notes that people have seen “earthquake clouds” and felt tremors Saturday night (April 11) in Mie Prefecture. The dolphin stranding made international news.
More than 130 melon-headed whales, a member of the dolphin family usually found in the deep ocean, beached in Japan on Friday, sparking frantic efforts by locals and coastguards to save them.
“We see one or two whales washing ashore a year, but this may be the first time to find over 100 of them on a beach,” a coastguard official told AFP.
The pod was stretched out along a roughly 10-kilometre-long stretch of beach in Hokota, Ibaraki, where they had been found by locals early Friday morning.
People tried to save them but most died. The mass stranding has caused the locals to fear a coming quake as in 2011 when there was a similar mass death of these animals followed by a huge quake that killed thousands. While this seems like a valid correlation and you can understand why people would be very nervous, there isn’t a great reason to connect it to a coming earthquake/tsunami. The Guardian piece says animals reportedly had deep gashes in their skin which may be related to their stranding but officials have not found the cause of death yet. Mass animal deaths happen for many and various reasons. So do earthquakes in Japan.
The claim of earthquake “clouds” in this case is REALLY weak (they look like normal clouds). Some outlets report that the fear of a pending quake is pervasive resulting in officials to issue warnings to calm down. However, the sources for such are unclear (mystery mongering sites like The Epoch Times which we do not cite as a valid source). So, it’s hard to determine what the widespread feeling is. Anyone in Japan here to comment?
We’ll be watching to see if an earthquake follows. (You have to have something to cause the tsunami, animals may react to earthquake precursors or the earthquake itself). At this point, there does not appear to be a solid reason to connect the events. Post hoc connecting of events often happens after a quake but these are not convincing data (though they are VERY intriguing and I think there is something to it that deserves a look).
A scientific theory will be reliably predictive. Right now, strange animal anomalies and other natural events have not been shown to be reliable predictors to earthquakes. The information provided in the RocketNews piece is rather misleading and may promote unnecessary fear. Odds are there is no need to worry, but if you are in Japan, ALWAYS be prepared for a quake.
Several magnitude 4 quakes occurred yesterday. Follow world quakes here.