Simple Summary: Large earthquakes (EQs) cause severe damage to property and people. They occur abruptly, and it is difficult to predict their time, location, and magnitude. However, there are reports of abnormal changes occurring in various natural systems prior to EQs. Unusual animal behaviors (UABs) are important phenomena. These UABs could be useful for predicting EQs, although their reliability has remained uncertain yet. We report on changes in particular animal species preceding a large EQ to improve the research on predicting EQs.
Abstract: Unusual animal behaviors (UABs) have been observed before large earthquakes (EQs), however, their mechanisms are unclear. While information on UABs has been gathered after many EQs, few studies have focused on the ratio of emerged UABs or specific behaviors prior to EQs. On 11 March 2011, an EQ (Mw 9.0) occurred in Japan, which took about twenty thousand lives together with missing and killed persons. We surveyed UABs of pets preceding this EQ using a questionnaire. Additionally, we explored whether dairy cow milk yields varied before this EQ in particular locations. In the results, 236 of 1,259 dog owners and 115 of 703 cat owners observed UABs in their pets, with restless behavior being the most prominent change in both species. Most UABs occurred within one day of the EQ. The UABs showed a precursory relationship with epicentral distance. Interestingly, cow milk yields in a milking facility within 340 km of the epicenter decreased significantly about one week before the EQ. However, cows in facilities farther away showed no significant decreases. Since both the pets’ behavior and the dairy cows’ milk yields were affected prior to the EQ, with careful observation they could contribute to EQ predictions.
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Yamauchi, H.; Uchiyama, H.; Ohtani, N.; Ohta, M. Unusual Animal Behavior Preceding the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku, Japan: A Way to Predict the Approach of Large Earthquakes. Animals 2014, 4, 131-145.
Yamauchi H, Uchiyama H, Ohtani N, Ohta M. Unusual Animal Behavior Preceding the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku, Japan: A Way to Predict the Approach of Large Earthquakes. Animals. 2014; 4(2):131-145.
Yamauchi, Hiroyuki; Uchiyama, Hidehiko; Ohtani, Nobuyo; Ohta, Mitsuaki. 2014. "Unusual Animal Behavior Preceding the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku, Japan: A Way to Predict the Approach of Large Earthquakes." Animals 4, no. 2: 131-145.