ABNORMAL ANIMAL BEHAVIOR AND THE PREDICTION OF EARTHQUAKES











A Research Paper Presented to

the Faculty of the Department of Earth Sciences

Northeastern Illinois University









In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree

Master of Science

in Earth Science








by

William K. Tong

ESCI-402: Current Problems in Earth Science

August, 1988

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would like to thank Dr. Hansa Upadhyay for his guidance and support for this project. His ideas, comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism were most helpful.
I would also like to thank faculty members Dr. Albert Forslev and Dr. Charles Shabica for consenting to be members of the examining board.
Special thanks go to past Northeastern graduates Steve Sroka for his advice on writing, word processing, and presenting this paper; Chris Ledvina for some very timely hints on word processing; and Hossein Najjarpour for his encouragement and advice.
ABSTRACT

Earthquake prediction in the Western world has been accepted only since the 1960's, and has relied almost exclusively on instrumental measurements. Observations of abnormal animal behavior before earthquakes date back to antiquity, and come from all over the world, but have been largely ignored by scientists, who have regarded them as unscientific folklore. When China reported the prediction of a major earthquake in 1975, using observations of abnormal animal behavior as part of their data as well as geophysical and geochemical precursors, interest in the serious study of precursory animal behavior was renewed in the Western world. The U.S. Geological Survey sponsored two conferences on Abnormal Animal Behavior Prior to Earthquakes in 1976 and 1979. These conferences brought together biologists and biophysicists with geophysicists and seismologists. The conferences presented results of systematic laboratory investigations of the sensory capabilities of animals mentioned in reports, in order to identify the particular geophysical precursors which may be responsible for causing abnormal behavior. It is hoped that precursory animal behavior may eventually be better understood, to the point that it may one day be used as a reliable seismic precursor.
TABLE OF CONTENTS


ABSTRACT..................................................... i

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS............................................ ii

TABLE OF CONTENTS.......................................... iii

LIST OF FIGURES............................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES...............................................vi

INTRODUCTION................................................. 1

CHAPTER 1. ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE............................... 3
Sources of Data......................................... 3
Anecdotal Accounts...................................... 5
Chinese Data on Animal Behavior Anomalies............... 6
Japanese Data on Animal Behavior Anomalies............. 16
Western Data on Animal Behavior Anomalies.............. 19

CHAPTER 2. PATTERNS IN THE ANIMAL BEHAVIOR PHENOMENA....... 24
Context of Abnormal Animal Behavior.................... 24
Time Patterns of Abnormal Animal Behavior.............. 26

CHAPTER 3. OVERVIEW OF POSSIBLE
SENSORY MECHANISMS IN ANIMALS.................. 39

CHAPTER 4. ANIMAL SENSITIVITIES TO GEOPHYSICAL STIMULI..... 42
Sounds and Vibrations (Foreshocks)..................... 42
Background Levels................................. 44
Acoustic Precursors and Coseismic Signals......... 45
Sound Detection By Animals........................ 50
Vibration Reception By Animals.................... 57
Electromagnetic Phenomena.............................. 59
Electric Field Changes............................ 59
Magnetic Field Changes............................ 61
Microwave and Other Electromagnetic Phenomena..... 65
Phenomena Related To Air Ions..................... 66
Phenomena Related to Opening/Closing of Small Cracks... 70
Precursory Changes in Groundwater Level........... 71
Earth Gases....................................... 73
Gaseous Odorants.................................. 75

CHAPTER 5. EARTHQUAKE PRECURSORS BEST DETECTED BY ANIMALS.. 80
Audible Low-Frequency Sound/Ground Vibrations.......... 80
Electric Field Changes................................. 83
Positively-Charged Ions................................ 84
Earthquake Gases Smelled By Animals.................... 86

CHAPTER 6. CONCLUSIONS REACHED BY RESEARCHERS.............. 87

BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................ 93
LIST OF FIGURES


Fig. 1. The regional distribution of animal events before
the Haicheng, China, earthquake of 2/4/75 ........ 12

Fig. 2. The regional dstribution of animal events before
the Tangshan, China, earthquake of 7/28/76........ 13

Fig. 3. According to an ancient Japanese legend, earthquakes
are caused by catfish moving underground.......... 17

Fig. 4. Time patterns of anomalous behavior of some
animals before the Haicheng and Tangshan
earthquakes in China.............................. 27

Fig. 5. Locations where precursory animal behavior is
observed prior to the Izu-Oshima-Kinkai (Japan)
earthquake (M = 7.0, 1978)........................ 29

Fig. 6. Histogram of logarithmic precursor time for
the whole data of animal precursors to the
Izu-Oshima-Kinkai (Japan) earthquake.............. 29

Fig. 7. Histogram of logarithmic precursor time for all
available data of animal behavior................. 31

Fig. 8. Histogram of logarithmic precursor time for
mammals classified according to body size......... 32

Fig. 9. Histogram for the whole data of animal
behavior precursors............................... 33

Fig. 10. Histogram of logarithmic precursor times of
geophysical precursors for earthquakes of
magnitude 6 or more............................... 34

Fig. 11. Histogram for the extremely short-range
geophysical precursors............................ 34

Fig. 12. Distribution of animal behavior according to the
distance from the epicenter and the time before
the main shock of 36 different earthquakes in
Europe, Asia, North America, & South America...... 37

Fig. 13. Percentage of major earthquakes (M > 7) in each
year from 1940 to 1973, that were preceded by
foreshocks reported to the International
Seismological Survey.............................. 48

Fig. 14. A comparison of the frequency range of sources
of earth noise with the hearing thresholds of
various animals................................... 49

Fig. 15. Reported sensitivity to vibrations for
various animals................................... 51

Fig. 16. Infrasound (ultra-low frequency sound)
thresholds of homing pigeons...................... 54

Fig. 17. Sensitivity of humans and pigeons to sounds
and vibrations.................................... 55

Fig. 18. Comparison of several reported geophysical
electric field changes with reported
sensitivity of various animals to direct
current electric field changes.................... 62

Fig. 19. Comparison of reported geophysical magnetic
changes with the sensitivity of various
experimental animals to magnetic fields........... 63

Fig. 20. Measurements of the temporal relation of soil
radon emanation, local seismic activity, and
rainfall along the San Andreas Fault.............. 74

Fig. 21. Comparison of olfactory (sense of smell)
sensitivity of various animal species to two
organic compounds................................. 76

LIST OF TABLES


Table 1A. Temporal Distribution of Animal Behavior (As
Percentage) Prior to Earthquakes: Haicheng, China,
Earthquake (M = 7.3), February 4, 1975. ......... 11

Table 1B. Temporal Distribution of Animal Behavior (As
Percentage) Prior to Earthquakes: Tangshan, China,
Earthquake (M = 7.8), July 28, 1976............... 11

Table 2. Abnormal Animal Behavior Prior to Earthquakes
and Other Contexts in Which Similar Behavior
Has Been Observed................................. 25

Table 3. Examples of Earthquake Detection Thresholds
For Several Seismic Networks...................... 47

Table 4. Mobility of Ions of Different Sizes............... 68

Table 5. Comparison of Different Mechanisms
Affecting Air Ion Levels.......................... 68

Table 6. Unusual Behavior Prior to Earthquakes Reported For
Various Animal Species For Possible Precursors:
Results of Experiments on Species' Sensitivities.. 79