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No. 11: Summer 1980

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Hark, hark, the dogs do bark

American geophysicists have been slow to take unusual animal behavior prior to earthquakes seriously. Spurred by Chi-nese work, a network of observers has been set up in California in an earthquake-prone area. Most reports of strange animal behavior have been after-the-fact. Furthermore, the "strange behaviors" frequently turn out to be common during quake-free periods, but simply not remarked upon. Nevertheless, geophysicists did observe some clear-cut instances of animals super-sensitivity to quake phenomena.

Studying aftershocks in the Mohave Desert in 1979, Donald Stierman and his colleagues often heard earthquake booms 4-l0 sec after feeling the shock and seeing their portable seismometers record the tremor. Two dogs nearby inevitably responded with a chorus of barking. Sometimes though, the human observers heard and felt nothing when the seismometers and dogs announced another aftershock.

(Kerr, Richard A.; "Quake Prediction by Animals Gaining Respect," Science, 208: 695, 1980.)

From Science Frontiers #11, Summer 1980. 1980-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987