HomeScience & TechAfter Turkey, researcher forecasts earthquake in India. Can we predict temblor?

After Turkey, researcher forecasts earthquake in India. Can we predict temblor?

A series of devastating earthquakes last week in Turkey and Syria has claimed over 35,000 lives so far and caused extensive damage in both countries. Dutch researcher Frank Hoogerbeets had apparently predicted the quakes in Turkey and Syria – which saw a massive 7-8-magnitude earthquake on February 6 – three days ago. His tweet has now gone viral on social media.

Moreover, the post warns people in the Indian subcontinent that the region may be next.

“Dutch researcher Frank Hoogerbeets who anticipated the quake in Turkey and Syria three days ago had also predicted seismic activity anticipating a large size earthquake originating in Afghanistan, through Pakistan and India eventually terminating into the Indian Ocean,” a viral post says, adding a clip of researcher allegedly explaining the danger. (ALSO READ: These are most earthquake-prone cities in India. Check list)

However, Twitter users flagged the post stating that there is no scientific basis for earthquake predictions. “There is always a chance for earthquakes in places with active faults, but specific forecasts perform no better than random when tested. Claims of correlation with planetary alignment have been disproven.” (ALSO READ: Is India prepared to deal with Turkey-like earthquake? Experts answer)

Are earthquakes predictable?

An earthquake prediction means to conclusively tell its date and time, the location and the magnitude.

According to a United States Geological Survey report, scientists have never really predicted such a large earthquake. They can only forecast the likelihood of a large earthquake striking a specific location during a specific time period.

It also provides an example of how, decades ago, earthquake predictions were produced in China based on small earthquakes and odd animal activity. After this many people decided to sleep outside of their homes and got saved from the main earthquake. The article continues, “This type of seismic activity is rarely followed by a large earthquake and, unfortunately, most earthquakes have no precursory events whatsoever.”

Researcher clarifies

Later through his social media, Hoogerbeets clarified that the purple bands shown in the video are atmospheric fluctuations and do not indicate a rupture zone. “(It) can only give rough estimates and they’re not perfect,” he added.

“I am not an ‘oracle’, ‘mystic’ or ‘prophet’ and I never give exact dates for larger earthquakes, as some (Turkish) media suggest. I am a researcher studying the relationship between earthquakes and planetary positions and I developed specific software (SSGI) for that purpose,” Hoogerbeets said. (ALSO READ: Turkey earthquake: Missing Indian man’s body found under rubble)

Predicting the location and timing of big earthquakes is of tremendous interest. Although the region can be categorised as an earthquake-prone area, there is currently no accurate means to forecast when an event will occur in any specific region.

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