Friday, October 9, 2015

Can Cats Predict Earthquakes?

Cats are weird. There’s no doubt about that. But notice anything extra unusual about this gif?

Reddit user nucleus
That’s right! Our feline friend over here seems to be spazzing out seconds before an earthquake rattles the house. And she looks spooked AF, which begs the question: Can animals predict earthquakes?
Animal earthquake detection is a topic that we humans have been thinking about for a while now. The earliest known record of peculiar animal behavior surrounding earthquakes dates all the way back to the ancient Romans.
In 373 B.C., the Roman author Claudius Aelianus wrote that a bunch of animals got the hell out of the city of Helike five days before an earthquake destroyed the entire town. Clever girl, indeed.
…But you can’t really trust the ancient Romans as a reliable scientific source.
We haven’t found any concrete evidence that animals can predict earthquakes months—or even days—ahead of time. The scientific literature is a bit shaky on the subject.
But what we do know is that some animals can sense earthquakes seconds before we even realize what’s happening. Here’s why:
An earthquake is made-up of different seismic waves. The first, smaller wave (called the Primary wave) hits first. It’s a lot faster than the larger and more violent Secondary wave.
The Primary wave is what animals can detect, but most humans can’t feel an earthquake until the Secondary wave hits, according to a study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 
So yeah, our furry little friends can technically sense an earthquake moments before we do, but they can’t exactly predict an earthquake before it happens.
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