Can we predict an earthquake?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

An earthquake actually warns people in advance, if they know where to look. And a comprehensive creation theory shows how and why.

Why people fear earthquakes

An earthquake can lay waste to large tracts of land, and release gigantic waves that do even more damage. The magnitude-9.0 Tohoku Earthquake of 2011 (“The Japan Earthquake”) is the prize example in recent memory. But some earthquakes cause psychological damage out of proportion to the physical damage they cause. The Virginia Earthquake, for example, was a relatively weak temblor. But it struck where no one expected it.

The worst feature of any earthquake is that it seems to strike without warning. The best that anyone can do is realize that a particular parcel of land will often shake violently, and then either:

  1. Stay away from it, or
  2. Try to build something that will still stand after it’s over.

The second option does not work completely when a very strong (magnitude 7 or stronger) earthquake strikes. This is especially true along the Ring of Fire and the faults that connect to it.

Efforts to predict an earthquake

Scientists have made many efforts to find reliable signs that an earthquake will strike. This includes watching pets, livestock, and other animals. Something about an approaching temblor seems to scare them or even make them run away. City dwellers have seen this sort of thing for thousands of years. The problems:

  1. Reports of such animal scares are sketchy. Usually only a few animals behave this way, not nearly enough to show a trend.
  2. No one knows what, exactly, scares the animals.

Worse yet, an animal might act scared, or run away, days in advance. So witnesses totally miss the signal. And because no one knows what makes the animal run away, no one pays attention. Even when hundreds, or thousands, of pets run away, no one suspects anything. No one can imagine that pets know anything except where their meals come from.

But the Tohoku Earthquake seems to have given another sign, one that people can measure.

The atmosphere gives warning

High atmospheric heat signatures at and near the epicenter of the Tohoku Earthquake, in the lead-up and afterward.

Ionospheric heat signatures at and near the epicenter of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, in the days leading up to it and afterward. Photo: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Geologists have often reported another tantalizing sign: strange weather breaks out shortly before an earthquake. Until recently, scientists had the stories of bad weather, but nothing to connect the weather with the earthquakes. After all, correlation does not imply causation.

Still, geologists started to set up weather stations in regions that tend to shake most often. Several space agencies have also launched many weather and other satellites that can test the atmosphere. And now a team from the Goddard Space Flight Center has found what looks like solid evidence.

In May of 2011, Dimitar Ouzounov and his colleagues reported two signs of atmospheric changes above the epicenter of the Tohoku Earthquake. They were:

  1. A high concentration of electrons in the ionosphere above the spot, and
  2. Emissions of infrared light. This is usually a heat signature. Something was heating up the atmosphere over the center of the earthquake, before it struck.

More to the point, these two signs built to a peak three days in advance. Furthermore, Ouzounov found that the atmosphere near the ground built up a static charge, all of electrons. The charge dissipated after the main shock.

This is more than a “just-happened-this-way” story. Now all those reports of bad weather striking before the ground shakes up have a good reason behind them. Hot air aloft, and a build-up of static electricity, are both known weather-makers. The extra static charge might also be what scares all those animals and makes them run away. Animals don’t take time to figure out whether something makes sense or not. When something “smells off” to them, they run. All they know is that they don’t like it, and that’s enough for them.

That still leaves one wondering where the static charges and the extra heat come from. Conventional scientists like the Lithosphere Atmosphere Ionosphere Coupling idea best of all. In simple terms: something deep in the ground affects the atmosphere. One idea is that the ground releases large amounts of radon. This radioactive gas causes ionization in the atmosphere. Water then condenses, and releases a lot of heat—hence the infrared light. But in fact: no one really knows where the static charge comes from.

A creation theory

But Walt Brown of the Center for Scientific Creation thinks he knows why. Yesterday, Brown reminded CNAV of a large granite deposit deep to the epicenter of the Tohoku Earthquake. Granite contains quartz—and when quartz deforms, it produces an electric current. Scientists call this piezoelectricity (literally, “electricity from pressure”) and have known about it for decades.

Brown suggests that piezoelectrical activity will always build up a strong positive charge in the ground (the “lithosphere”). Naturally this will attract a strong negative charge in the atmosphere and especially in the ionosphere. (Scientists call it the “ionosphere” because almost everything in it exists as ions and free electrons.) This, and not the release of radon, causes the static build-up, and the secondary heating.

The implications are staggering. Brown expressed outrage that geologists have not realized this earlier.

Twenty-three thousand people lost their lives in that earthquake. Think how many of them the authorities might have saved, had they realized that all this electrical activity was building up. And the more it builds, the stronger the earthquake will be.

But this finding also provides evidence for a very controversial part of Brown’s Hydroplate Theory of the Global Flood. During the Flood, all the earth shook—at magnitude thirteen or stronger. That would produce tremendous currents and discharges—lightning in the ground. When lightning strikes, it produces radionuclides along its path. The discharges during repeated magnitude-thirteen earthquakes were enough, says Brown, to transmute lead into uranium on massive scales. This, then, is the source of all the radioactive minerals we see today.

Featured image: map of Japan. Graphic courtesy US Central Intelligence Agency.

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

18 Responses to Can we predict an earthquake?

  1. Daniel says:

    Very good until you tranmuted lead into uranium and other radioactive minerals. Very bad and unbelievable.

  2. Joel says:

    Very interesting find, though I hope you can go more into the transmutation thing. Is that an actual process that has been proven? I’d imagine that it wouldn’t be practical to use, but can it be directly reproduced in a lab, for example?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Those who study lightning for a living have found trace radionuclides in the path of simulated lightning. Now multiply the electric charges about ten thousand times. See what I mean?

      • Joel says:

        Yes, I understand that, though honestly I’ve only ever had basic college chemistry. But has this been shown to transmute elements from one form to another, sort of like the reverse of radioactive decay?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Yes, it has. In fact, we synthesize heavy radioactive elements in just that way. Americium (element 95) is the prize example; that’s a trans-uranic element for which industry has actually found a use.

          I propose, or rather Walt Brown proposes, that the Global Flood created magnitude-13 or stronger earthquakes. These generated electric potentials that would turn ordinary atoms to plasma. Plasma is an ancient Greek word meaning “something you can shape or mold.” You have free electrons and totally nude nuclei. Matter in that state can transmute easily, if you keep a strong-enough electric load on it. And that’s what happened during the Flood.

          You might also check out the Oklo Natural Reactor. In the one place in the world that gets more lightning strikes than any other, uranium regularly transmutes to neptunium and then to plutonium. Maybe we should speak of trans-plutonic, rather than trans-uranic, elements.

  3. JeffK says:

    I think it’s great that they have found a possible warning sign for earthquakes. Yay, science! However, your post falls apart after that.

    You seem to forget that while the world was turning into a nuclear reactor, a wooden boat was floating – unharmed – on it. Not to mention the creatures you say remained in the water, and not on the Ark. Also, what proof is there that a M13 quake ever took place? There’s none.

    Another question – how come the massive impact craters – which must have happened after the Flood, otherwise they’d be filled with sediment – receive no mention in the Bible? They would have caused devastation on a massive scale world-wide and yet there’s no mention of them. Here’s a few craters for example:
    Vredefort – 300km
    Sudbury – 250km
    Chicxulub – 170
    Manicouagan – 100
    Popigai – 100
    Chesapeake Bay – 90
    Acraman – 90
    Puchezh-Katunki – 80
    Morokweng – 70

    If one of these had happened in the last 6,000 years, we’d still be feeling the effects.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      We are still feeling the effects. Every earthquake since the Global Flood is an aftershock of it.

      • Azazel says:

        Hahahahahahaha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Aftershocks from 6000 years ago. Wow! And I’ve got a beachfront condo here in Phoenix to sell you!

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Laugh if you will, while you take the name that means, in Hebrew, the scapegoat, or a complete removal. I should ask you to “remove” yourself, if you have nothing constructive to add.

  4. JeffK says:

    I wasn’t talking about earthquakes Terry. I’m asking why none of the massive impacts listed above are mentioned in the world’s 6,000 year old history. The must all be post Flood, because they haven’t been filled with sediment.

    There’s simply no way something like that could have struck the earth and nobody would have noticed. And those are just the biggest ones… and yet, silence. Why is this, given what we know of their destructive force?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      But somebody did notice! Eight of them, in fact. And three of them kept a detailed log of the entire event, and of the voyage they made in a wooden life-ship, with specimens of every air-breathing animal then extant.

      • 1Lishell says:

        And how did this wooden ship survive a nuclear apocalypse?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Ha, ha. I said that the electrical activity (piezoelectric, actually) in the earth’s crust was able to synthesize trans-lead elements and other radionuclides. I did not say that nuclear fission took place. As far as I can tell, it did not. (Though one thing did take place: cluster decay, in which a trans-lead or at least trans-ferric element throws off a decay product somewhat larger than the helium nucleus that we call an “alpha particle.” The most common cluster-decay product: carbon-14. Which is why the life span of man declined ninety percent within eleven generations.)

  5. JeffK says:

    Wait… there’s mention of a battery of giant meteors pounding the Earth into rubble in the Bible?

    Also “I did not say that nuclear fission took place” – actually you did:

    http://www.examiner.com/creationism-in-national/an-alternative-supply-of-carbon-14

    “The Global Flood produced earthquakes of incalculable magnitude, enough to generate tremendous piezoelectrical potentials and essentially turn the earth into a fast-breeding nuclear reactor.”

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      This particular fast-breeder did not use fission to produce its energy. The energy came from piezoelectricity, and you get that from deforming quartz.

  6. You haven’t effectively shown that it’s not conformation bias.

    What you need to do is make creation science feasible financially as an applied science. The market will stop you if it’s false.

    Now the first complaint one might make is that all the money is tied up in big science, but half of America believes in YEC and they have plenty of money.

    The Next complaint might be that no one is teaching science with out evolution, but to that I respond that a creationist should be able to sit through and sift out the good parts, and if not then all of science will have to be rewritten.

    The third complaint is that all the smartest scientists have been brainwashed. If your argument is that your ideas cannot survive because smart people don’t accept them than you should reevaluate your position.

    So why isn’t anyone making billions of dollars with synthetic uranium?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Well, they’re not making billions of dollars with synthetic uranium because you still need to put in at least as much energy as you get from the breakdown of uranium to lead. And I have no desire to repeat those generalized magnitude-13 earthquakes!

      To address the other point you make: we need to divorce scientific research from government grants. This applies not merely to origins science but to traditional operations science, too. The reasons:

      1. We can’t afford it anymore, if we ever could.
      2. When the government does anything in science, it wastes money and effort—and could use the information to invent something really nasty.

      Let me anticipate another objection that you did not raise: that evolutionary geology is the necessary foundation for fossil-fuel prospecting. No, it isn’t. All that is required is to trace out the major sedimentary layers. Prospectors do this all the time, and though they think they know where those layers came from, that does not matter nearly as much as knowing where each layer extends. I put it to you that a better understanding of hydrological sorting, orogeny, etc. would yield better results. Someone needs to try that out.

      I won’t necessarily raise any of the complaints you mention. But I would point out that Walt Brown’s written debate offer is still on the table.

  7. […] Can we predict an earthquake? […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.