Almost all of the earthquakes I’ve experienced in Southern California have happened when it was hot. That does *not* mean I believe that a certain type of hot weather causes or leads to earthquakes. It’s because Southern California is frequently hot, no matter the season. I remember one aftershock from Northridge that happened a rainy night.
Animals and Earthquakes
Studies are mixed when it comes to animals sensing an impending earthquake. I can tell you what I’ve experienced personally, but that does not mean it’s a valid theory. Three days before Northridge, our cat started howling for no reason. As he almost never even meowed, this was strange. After Northridge, he started howling before most of the larger aftershocks. He ended up with the nickname “SeismoCat.”
The idea that animals can predict earthquakes has been around for centuries. There may be some valid reasons for this. Minute changes in vibration, perhaps even microquakes that humans can’t feel could cause them to react. There may also be a release of gases that animals can smell which we can’t.
Why do we believe these Theories?
Of all natural disasters, earthquakes are the least predictable. In fact, they are almost totally unpredictable. In other disasters, people have time to react, even if it is only a few minutes. That time saves lives.
What we want is to find *something* that gives us that warning. Believing in earthquake weather and animal detection gives us a sense that we may be able to predict and prepare for this type of disaster.
Should we Believe?
No. A false belief hurts far more than it helps. I’ve seen this false belief in action during the Northridge earthquake. Of the 65 houses in my neighborhood, 62 had to buy a new water heater. Theirs were destroyed by the quake. Three of us had the water heater plumber’s taped to studs. All we had to do was spend $10 on flex hoses.
The earthquake happened at 4:26 a.m. in January. It was dark outside. When we came out, we were the only ones in our immediate vicinity with working flashlights. One neighbor came out with a lit candle. If there had been a gas leak, we’d have been in serious trouble.
Instead of looking for things that probably won’t help, prepare now. Set up an earthquake kit. Have flashlights in every room and in the kit. Check them regularly to make sure they work. If you have to yell at your family to put the flashlights back (I did), do so. The only way to deal with this issue is preparation.