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Animal seismic forecasters

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

It has long been known in our countryside that animals can somehow sense the coming of an earthquake. Now researchers have succeeded in capturing and documenting how the behaviour of wild animals change before an earthquake. The study was carried out at the Yachaga tiol Park in Peru by a team of British researchers from Anglia Ruskin University. They planted a series of motion-triggered cameras on a ridge in the park, recording the data of animal sightings. Normally, there were 5 to 15 animal sightings, but this changed before a strong earthquake rocked the region in 2011. From 23 days before the quake, the number of sightings came down to five and below. In the 5-7 days before the quake, no animal movements were recorded in the cameras at all. Meanwhile the researchers were also recording the reflection of very low frequency (VLF) radio waves above the entire region. Two weeks before the quake, disturbances were detected in the ionosphere; a particularly large disturbance eight days prior to the quake coincided with significant decrease in animal activity. The researchers now believe that in the build-up to an earthquake, rocks deep underground are subjected to huge stresses. This releases a large number of positive ions in the air, which trigger disagreeable side effects in animals and humans, like restlessness and confusion. On birds as well as mammals burrowing in the ground, the effect is particularly strong. In the study, the animals on the park ridge may have gone down to the forest in the valley, trying to avoid the airborne positive ions. If this is true, then animals with their acute ability to sense the environment, may help forewarn about an impending earthquake and save human lives in large numbers. It is the gift animals have for living in the lap of ture at its utter mercy.

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