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Earthquakes Are Predictable - There Are Many Ways

Updated on December 14, 2015
Buildreps profile image

Mario Buildreps is a graduate engineer. Become aware of topics in a way you have never heard before.

The Toad seems to be gifted in predicting Earthquakes.
The Toad seems to be gifted in predicting Earthquakes. | Source

Predicting Earthquakes Is Precarious

The theory of Earth Crust Displacements, of the late Charles Hapgood, seems to contain clues between wandering poles and Earthquakes.

The current scientific attempts to predict or forecast Earthquakes, like:

  • Radon emission method (attempt to predict),
  • Electro-Magnetic Emissions method used by the French satellite Demeter (attempt to predict),
  • Statistical driven methods (methods to forecast).

All three methods are still not very successful.

This implies that the assumed processes that lead to Earthquakes are still misunderstood and that science is probably looking in the wrong direction when attempting to predict Earthquakes.

This website has much more background information about statistical driven methods of Earthquake forecasting.

This ancient Chinese Didong instrument contains a construction that during an Earthquake one of the 8 Dragons throws a ball in the mouth of the frog or toad. It  implies that the ancient Chinese already knew that toads are good predictors.
This ancient Chinese Didong instrument contains a construction that during an Earthquake one of the 8 Dragons throws a ball in the mouth of the frog or toad. It implies that the ancient Chinese already knew that toads are good predictors. | Source

Using Animals

In 2009 scientists of the English University of Milton Keynes researched a colony of Toads at an Italian lake. They witnessed that the Toads suddenly interrupted their mating rituals and that nearly all Toads left their settlements around the lake.

Five days later a heavy earthquake hit L’Aguila at a distance of 80 km from the lake. A few days after the Earthquake, the Toads returned to the lake. The conclusion is obvious: Toads can sense that an Earthquake is imminent.

The Toad isn't the only animal that senses an upcoming earthquake. Mice, Snakes and Fish also seem to change their habits a few days before an Earthquake. It looks that a thorough study to animal behaviour in relation to earthquakes is likely to be more fruitful than launching again another expensive satellite.

What is Stick-Slip?

Stick-slip is a whimsical motion between two 'bodies' that slide along each other, that is caused by at least two forces that are (almost) perpendicular to each other.

A stick-slip motion starts when the lateral force overcomes friction. The motion stops when the lateral force is smaller than friction. This cycle can repeat itself many times until the stress is totally released.

Living Along Continental Rifts

Many big cities arose on the shores near Continental Rifts, where the tectonic plates are sliding along each other. The slow moving plates cause increasing tensions between the plates. Once in a few years 'stick-slip' occurs between the plates, due to the forces that the plates are exercising on each other. We call this an Earthquake.

Regions that already proved to be at high risk are:

  • Santiago in Chile,
  • the West-coast of the U.S.A and Alaska,
  • Indonesia and Japan.

There are also many other area's lying near rifts that are at a high potential risk of a very heavy Earthquake.

Cities arose along rifts in periods when no one was realizing the risks of heavy Earthquakes.

Earthquake History - Release of Enormous Amounts of Energy

Energy (ExaJoule)
Mainly caused by Chile in 1960
Mainly caused by Alaska in 1964
Mainly caused by Sumatra in 2004
Mainly caused by Japan in 2011

Wandering Poles

According to Hapgood's theory, earth crust shifts are caused when the imbalance of the Earth crust, through unsymmetrical deposition of land ice around the poles, exceeds a certain weight. Wandering poles could be a sign of this growing imbalance.

Plate Tectonics doesn't explain sufficiently the tremendous energy that is generated by Earthquakes.

The ruling theory is that the Earth's magnetic field is caused by the liquid outer core, where magnetic minerals are 'whirling' around the Earth's solid inner core. This theory is only a presumption based upon what scientists think - it is impossible to verify this theory.

Wandering North Pole

The magnetic North Pole is with increasing speed racing towards Russia. In the last 14 years, from 2000 to 2014 the Magnetic North moved the same distance as from 1950 to 2000.
The magnetic North Pole is with increasing speed racing towards Russia. In the last 14 years, from 2000 to 2014 the Magnetic North moved the same distance as from 1950 to 2000. | Source

Wandering South Pole

The magnetic South pole seems to wander constant in speed.
The magnetic South pole seems to wander constant in speed. | Source
SP Latitude
SP Longitude
NP Latitude
NP Longitude
To imagine the 'polar stretch theory': in the Earth is a bar magnet that is slightly distorted and/or bent by forces inside the Earth and at the Earth's crust.
To imagine the 'polar stretch theory': in the Earth is a bar magnet that is slightly distorted and/or bent by forces inside the Earth and at the Earth's crust. | Source

The Polar Stretch Theory

The North pole and South pole seem to wander randomly, independently from each other, but this wouldn't be logical, because natural laws will try to keep Earth's magnetic field in balance.

Wandering poles must have its consequences on the tensions in the Earth's crust, the so called Polar Stretch Theory. No, this is not an official theory, it's Buildrep's theory!

The Earth magnetic field is a tangle of torus-shaped flux lines, with one resultant North and one resultant South pole.

The essence of the Polar Stretch Theory is that wandering of the poles is an expression of tensions and movements that are going on inside the Earth.

To imagine how the Polar Stretch Theory works - in the Earth's core is a bar magnet that is an unbreakable part of the Earth, connected with the inner core and the crust. It can only twist along its own axis. When everything is in balance the magnet won't be distorted nor bent by the inner or outer forces of the Earth.

When there are tensions or pressures somewhere in the Earth, this magnet will be distorted or bent which results in a moving North pole and/or South pole. When tensions are building up the poles keep moving, meaning that the bar magnet is further bent or distorted, until through an Earthquake this bending force is released, that will partly result in restoring the original shape of the bar magnet.

I used the database of NGDC, that contains for every year the Longitude and Latitude of both the South pole and North pole, from 1590 up to 2015. I mixed these data with the earthquake data and performed all kinds of mathematical tricks with this.

Lon SP
Lat SP
Lon NP
Lat NP

Example of two locations where the poles are in two consecutive years that gave a positive result, meaning that the poles were wandering from each other.

Using the great circle formula to calculate the shortest distance between the two points ('94-'93) results in this specific example in 32.13 km, which means that from '93 to '94 the shortest distance in one year grew. From all the years, from 1590 up to 2013 I calculated this pole-to-pole wanderings and recorded this in a spreadsheet.

Lon SP
Lat SP
Lon NP
Lat NP

Example of two locations where the poles are in two consecutive years that gave a negative result, meaning that the poles were wandering towards each other.

This example of the relative pole wandering from '73 to '74 resulted in -8.02 km, meaning that the poles over the shortest distance were wandering towards each other.

This is How it Looks Like

This picture shows the relation between polar shifts and the released energy of earthquakes since 1590.
This picture shows the relation between polar shifts and the released energy of earthquakes since 1590. | Source

Data Analysis - Relation Between Poles and Earthquakes

There are sources that claim to have found a relation between pole wanderings and earthquakes. But they are wrong, because they compare Richter's scale with the wanderings, and this results in the purest nonsense.

For example the great Earthquake in Chile in 1960 released 8,442 times more energy than the great Earthquake in 1968 in California. When these two are counted as just one Earthquake they would be treated as equal, while they are not, which means that these methods as mentioned above are comparing apples with oranges.

This is what I did:

  • I downloaded from the USGS site in several batches an immense amount of data - nearly 25,000 Earthquakes larger than 5.5 Magnitude from 1900 to 2013.
  • I added to this list the biggest earthquakes between 1590 and 1900.
  • From every Earthquake in this database I calculated the energy. Earthquakes beneath 5.5 are from energetic point of view not interesting anymore.
  • From all the Earthquakes in one specific year I summed them all together.
  • The right formula to calculate the energy in Joule is: E = 6,3 × 104 × 103M/2. M is the magnitude in Richter. For example the great Alaska Earthquake of Magnitude 9.2 generated: E = 6,3 × 104 × 103×9.2/2= 3.97×1018Joule.
  • I downloaded the pole locations of the North pole and the South pole from the NGDC site and calculated from year to year the relative wandering distances, in the way I explained above.
  • I putted both data next to each other, rearranged the Earthquake energy to the same proportions as the pole wandering distance, because the difference in magnitude of these numbers would make graphical analysis useless - the pole wanderings would be a flat line over the x-axis.

This is one big mathematical bag of tricks!

Tsunami's are Caused by Earthquakes in Sea

The Polar Stretch Theory - Explanation of the Data Analysis

The essence of the Polar Stretch Theory is that the extent to which the poles are wandering in regard to each other is a sign that a heavy earthquake is imminent. Isn't that logical?

If you pull on your skin with your fingers, it will shoot loose when the tensions get too big. It's comparable.

The graph below is split into 4 parts. In every division are the poles wandering away from each other and is Earth crust in this period subjected to one ore more heavy Earthquake(s).

After a heavy Earthquake the pole-to-pole wandering seems to stabilize, like the graph is showing.


Period I to Period IV

  • Period I - The shortest distance from pole-to-pole is increasing, the poles are wandering away from each other (blue line). During the period from 1900 to 1940: average 17,4 km/year. In this period arose two heavy Earthquakes: Chile 1922 and Banda Sea 1938 (peaks in red line). After the Earthquake in Chile the blue line starts to flatten slightly. After the second heavy Earthquake in the Banda Sea the blue line drops dramatically, meaning that in 1940 the pole-to-pole distance nearly stopped to increase.
  • Period II - In 1945 the pole-to-pole distance is again increasing, this time with a relative high speed, followed by a very heavy Earthquake in Kamchatka in 1952. This Earthquake seemed to release some of the stress in the Earth crust, which is expressed in stopping the increasing pole-to-pole distance and it even shows a slight decrease.
  • Period III - Apparently there was still too much stress in the Earth crust present that caused the great Earthquake in Chile in 1960, followed by the great Earthquake in Alaska in 1964. Both Earthquakes seemed to have released so much stress that the pole-to-pole distance decreased radically and even for a few years the poles were wandering towards each other.
  • Period IV - The pole-to-pole distance is again increasing, but this time dramatically fast, followed by the very heavy Earthquake on the other side of the Globe near Sumatra in 2004, followed by the heavy Earthquake near Chile in 2010. The shortest pole-to-pole distance seems to stabilize again due to mainly the Earthquake in Sumatra. The poles are quickly wandering towards each other, expressed in the dropping blue curve. What the effect is of the heavy Earthquakes in Chile in 2010 and Japan 2011 cannot be determined at the moment, but both Earthquakes are (again) lying in the same direction caused by the centrifugal force of Antarctica.

The last 20 years the pole-to-pole distance appears to be unstable. It will have (still unknown) consequences.
The last 20 years the pole-to-pole distance appears to be unstable. It will have (still unknown) consequences. | Source


The Polar Stretch Theory, is worth looking into more deeply. There are patterns that show clear relations.

From 1994 to 2004 the pole-to-pole distance was dramatically increasing, followed by a very fast decreasing. The relaxation must have been caused by the huge earthquake of Sumatra.

It looks like there is a huge earthquake slumbering beneath the crust!

Where will it strike? In Chile.

When? In 2015 or in 2016.

© 2014 by Buildreps

© 2014 Buildreps


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    • retrojoe profile image

      Joseph Ritrovato 

      5 years ago from Vancouver, WA (nextdoor to Portland, OR)

      You are very welcome Buildreps; hope you can find the time before the next mega earthquake occurs..

      When it comes to whether there is ever enough time, I can relate. I could be more thorough and accurate in my forecasts if I had more time to crank out my hubs at the beginning of each month. This last quake of 8.2 magnitude can be used as a good example.. There was no window that this quake fell within in my forecasts; it was between windows. The reason for that is because I map out in graph form, the values of angular relationships between the solar system bodies every 6 hours, and that temblor fell near the midway point between two readings. It didn't cause a spike above average because it involved the moon that, because its orbital motion is so fast, the spike from an angle between the moon and the sun rose and fell between those two points on the graph. If I had the time to display the values of the angular relationships every 3 hours instead of 6 hours, I would have seen something potentially coming. So, for me, this is a bit like a story of how a big fish got away.

      I would have been less surprised if this quake happened a few days later, when a large window with fairly big potential opens up. But this quake was ready to go before that. I am still expecting other activity to pick up for the last 11 days of this month and a few more days during the first week or so of October.

      As you just mentioned, Japan looks like another candidate for another big quake, likely not too far from Tokyo (my location estimate), in the coming few years. I feel that the Indonesia area too, as far east as Samoa (and from there possibly south to New Zealand), will be seeing something very big even sooner.

    • Buildreps profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Europe

      Thanks retrojoe. Sceptics would argue that predicting an earthquake in Chile is not so difficult because this country is plagued by many earthquakes. But looking deeper into this issue shows there were just 6 earthquakes larger than 8.0 since 1900. This latest one of 8.3 is now the 7th since 1900, showing that predicting a quake of larger than 8.0 in Chile in 2015 is not just luck. It is the result of the 'Polar Stretch Theory'.

      How did they discover that the moon caused the tides? Because there was a pattern between the moon phases and ebb and flow. Who questions this logic today? I guess no one. Predicting is all about discovering patterns that are prior to the event you want to predict. It is in fact not that difficult as it seems. It requires only much dedication, brains and much time.

      Like you said it is unlikely that this was all we've seen. When you look how the magnetic poles are stretching means there are probably even heavier ones coming up. I don't know which mechanism causes this polar stretch, but the patterns are there for anyone to see.

      This next earthquake will probably strike at the other side of the globe - Indonesia or Japan. This might still take a few years, but the pressure is clearly building up. I have to dive deeper into this to predict the next one, but I've no time... Thanks again, retrojoe for reminding me about this!

    • retrojoe profile image

      Joseph Ritrovato 

      5 years ago from Vancouver, WA (nextdoor to Portland, OR)

      I just want to underline the fact that Buildreps predicted in this hub that there would be an over 8 magnitude earthquake in Chile in 2015 or 2016 and also focused on the Santiago area of that country. The 8.2 earthquake that just occurred in Chile was less than 200kms from Santiago.

      I am now expecting worldwide activity for 6.8 magnitude or greater earthquakes to pick up (there has been an earthquake drought in that regard for the past few months) and last at least a couple of weeks. My list of possible areas for an uptick in activity would be Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands area (but could extend even further east and perhaps south from there as well).

      Seismic events of 7.1M or greater have been blowing hot and cold for the last 21 months, with stretches of inactivity for 3 months or more, followed by about a month of greatly heightened activity following 7.8M or larger events. If this pattern continues, we should be seeing more 7.8M or larger quakes than usual till the earth's tectonic state calms down and becomes less extreme in the unfolding of activity. What I am thinking though, is that the extreme swings from inactive to active won't settle down until after something much bigger than an 8.2M event.

    • Buildreps profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Europe

      Interesting thoughts retrojoe! It's a pleasure to have you around at HP :)

    • retrojoe profile image

      Joseph Ritrovato 

      5 years ago from Vancouver, WA (nextdoor to Portland, OR)

      My pleasure Buildreps, I too have noticed a long cycle of about 40 years for clusters of big earthquakes. Peaks at 1930, 1970, and 2010 (give or take 2.5 years) showed up in a graph I recently produced from ISC-GEM catalogue data (plus USGS for the year 2012) for earthquakes of 7.1 magnitude or larger (average about one per month for the past eleven years).

      But this last peak is bigger than usual and I suspect will last longer; perhaps another 5 years or thru the end of 2017. So, I wouldn't rule out another 9.0 earthquake during the next couple of years.

      Looking at it another way, from 2004-2011 there were 3 earthquakes of from 8.8-9.1 magnitude. The energy released by these quakes equals one lone quake of about 9.3 magnitude. Subtracting the energy of that from the total energy of the two huge seismic events in 1960 and 1964, and you get as much energy as a 9.45 magnitude event.

    • Buildreps profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for your comment, retrojoe. Historical patterns show that the heaviest earthquakes appear around every 44 years. So, according to this pattern the real megaquake far over 9.0 is expected not before 2048. But in between there might be very heavy quakes of between 8.0 and 9.0.

      It doesn't matter which method you use as long as you can withdraw clear and reliable patterns from them!

    • retrojoe profile image

      Joseph Ritrovato 

      5 years ago from Vancouver, WA (nextdoor to Portland, OR)

      Very good job on this hub buildreps,

      I expect that you are right about a mega quake again coming to Chile. There was an 8.2 magnitude earthquake in northern Chile at the beginning of April 2014. Seismologists at the time stated that the quake did not surprise them; they had been forecasting a big quake there, but they were expecting something bigger, and still do because the 8.2 magnitude quake released less than half of the pent up forces at play there. I believe it is likely that a larger quake is due there between now and 2017. Chile being so long and on the edge of a very active plate border, has more than one threat as you point out by also mentioning Santiago in the article.

      I like your theory; believe it has promise at forecasting trends when it comes to super large earthquakes. If you are right, my impression is that the increase in activity from 2003 or 2004 to the present is perhaps a warm-up for bigger things to come; say in the next ten years or so.

      Although my forecast methods are more radical than yours because they relate to planetary aspects, the aspect relationship between certain pairs of planets was determined statistically by observing past earthquakes and comparing them to angular relationships that occurred over and over. These angles very often were different than what an astrologer would be looking for based on what his texts tell him or her that they should be paying attention to.

      The use of animals is just one tool at our disposal for determining if a big quake is coming to a particular area. If earlier forecasts have determined that a very large earthquake is ready to occur at a location where animals panic and flee, such a quake would likely be around the corner. Thanks for all the work you did on this and for sharing it with us!

    • Buildreps profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for commenting my friend. Animals feel an earthquake coming a few days ahead. They seem to be incapable to predict the magnitude, which makes it hard to base actions upon. Thanks for reminding me of this article. I want to dive deeper into this matter, but lacked time lately.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You cover some fascinating topics my friend. I live in earthquake country in Washington State, and we have them quite often. I have friends who swear that their animals will tell them when one is about to happen...and I have no reason to doubt them. I think there are signs we can listen to if we understand them.


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