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Understanding Animal Detection of Precursor Earthquake Sounds

By Michael Garstang, Michael C. Kelley

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We use recent research to provide an explanation of how animals might detect earthquakes before they occur. While the intrinsic value of such warnings is immense, we show that the complexity of the process may result in inconsistent responses of animals to the possible precursor signal. Using the results of our research, we describe a logical but complex sequence of geophysical events triggered by precursor earthquake crustal movements that ultimately result in a sound signal detectable by animals. The sound heard by animals occurs only when metal or other surfaces (glass) respond to vibrations produced by electric currents induced by distortions of the earth’s electric fields caused by the crustal movements. A combination of existing measurement systems combined with more careful monitoring of animal response could nevertheless be of value, particularly in remote locations


Katie Osborn

Date 2017
Publication Title Animals
Volume 7
Issue 9
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Location of Publication Basel, Switzerland
DOI 10.3390/ani7090066
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Detection
  4. Earthquakes
  5. Electronics
  6. sounds