It was long believed that animals can sense natural disasters like earthquake. A new study has confirmed the same for the first time when scientists measured some unusual changes in behaviours of animals prior to an earthquake, suggesting animals can sense natural calamity. The study can give an insight into short-term seismic forecasting in near future.
For the study, lead researcher Dr Rachek Grant at Anglia Ruskin University, observed Contamana earthquake that struck the region in 2011 and measured 7.0 on the rector scale. Researchers found abnormal changes in the behaviour of animals 23 days before the earthquake hit the town.
Scientists used motion-triggered cameras to observe the behaviour of animals in Yanachaga National Park in Peru. On the normal day, cameras recorded 5-15 animal sightings. However, in 23 days before the earthquake, researchers recorded five or fewer sightings. Scientists were astonished to see that no animal movement was recorded at all within 7 days of earthquake, which was incredibly unusual for this mountainous rainforest region.
Simultaneously, the study authors detected disturbances in ionosphere two weeks before the earthquake, due to reflections of very low frequency radio waves. Very large fluctuation was recorded eight days before the earthquake, the event coincided with the sudden decrease in the animal activity.
The study authors said that when rocks beneath the earth’s surface collide with each other, generate positive airborne ions in large numbers responsible for the unusual animal behaviours.
Researchers believe that animal’s acute ability to sense environment can be used to detect earthquake in near future.
“With their acute ability to sense their environment, animals can help us understand subtle changes that occur before major earthquakes, said Professor Friedemann Freund of the Search for extraterrestrial intelligence Institute (SETI). “These changes, that we are now able to measure, express themselves in many different ways at the earth’s surface and above,” Freund said.