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Earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Did the Dutch “foresee” them? There is no scientific method

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A Dutch geologist allegedly predicted Monday’s earthquake that killed thousands in Turkey and Syria. Meanwhile, experts explain that there are no scientific methods that would allow such predictions.

On Monday, January 6, in the morning of southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, an earthquake with a magnitude of about 7.8 hit. As a result, numerous buildings collapsed, burying hundreds of sleeping people under the rubble. 24 hours after the main quake, Turkish and Syrian services passed in the nightly reports that at least four thousand people died. These stats may increase.

Meanwhile, on February 6 and 7, some foreign media and some Polish editorial offices reported that Monday’s earthquake was “predicted” by Dutch geologist Frank Hoogerbeets.

“A geologist from the Netherlands predicted an earthquake in Turkey and Syria. He tweeted about it,” she wrote in your message Polish Press Agency. It was duplicated by other media: TVP Infoservice “Gazeta Prawna daily“, Interia.pl and Polsat Newsservice Science in Poland.

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As we checked, reputable news agencies and large credible editorial offices did not inform about the “predictions” of the Dutchman from foreign media. This information was published by Turkish ntv.com.trThe Premium Times” from Nigeria and Pakistani “The News International“.

“Predictions” based on “critical planetary geometry”?

Hoogerbeets on Twitter to introduce himself as a researcher Solar System Geometry Survey (SSGEOS). The organization itself claims to be “a research institute dedicated to monitoring geometry between celestial bodies related to seismic activity.”

The Dutch with his “predictions” shared on Twitter on February 3, three days before the quake land in Turkey and Syria. “Sooner or later there will be a ~M 7.5 earthquake in this region (south-central Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon).” He attached a map of the region of Western Asia on the Mediterranean Sea, where Turkey and Syria are located. Two places are marked on it with red circles: one small circle around the city of Balikesir in western Turkey, and larger circles around the city of Osmaniye on the Turkey-Syria border.

Dutchman’s popular tweet from February 3, 2023 Twitter

His tweet quickly became very popular – by February 7, it was viewed over 47 million times, it was liked by over 170,000. Twitter users and over 68 thousand. it went on.

“My heart goes out to all those affected by the severe earthquake in central Turkey” – Hoogerbeets tweeted on February 6. Later in the post, he briefly explains the methodology he used to predict the event. “As I stated earlier, sooner or later it would happen in this region, as in 115 and 526. These earthquakes are always preceded by critical planetary geometry, such as we had on February 4-5.”

The Twitter administration added contextual information (a note) to this post. These are written by users and it is up to the platform community to decide if they are helpful. “There is no scientific basis for predicting earthquakes. There is always a chance of earthquakes in active faulting locations, but specific predictions are no better than random predictions. Correlation claims with planetary alignments have been disproved,” the Twitter note reads. with a Dutch entry. The note links to credible scientific sources, including materials United States Geological Survey (USGS), research facility Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN), which monitors earthquake and volcanic activity in the Pacific Northwest and portal Science in the News Harvard University.

Dutchman’s tweet on February 6, 2023 with added contextTwitter.com

Moreover, scientists question both the validity of the Dutchman’s “prediction” and the dubious basis of his methodology.

Earthquake predictions based on planetary positions?

Editors of the American magazine “Newsweek” after she covered popular Hoogerbeets posts, she consulted other experts. According to them, the “predictions” of the Dutchman are not supported by science.

“After the earthquake, we see many people claiming to have predicted it, despite a long series of previous failures,” Ilan Kelman, a professor at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London, told Newsweek.

“In general, we can predict where earthquakes are expected because we’ve done a good job mapping fault lines, but we can’t predict when they will occur – especially not far in advance. Some signals just before the quakes are still being studied to perhaps give short notice, none of which have been confirmed,” he continued.

“Since I can’t find peer-reviewed scientific publications on this purported prediction method, I recommend caution in taking it as a serious method while continuing research along multiple lines,” Kelman explained.

“Forecast should specify time, place and magnitude. ‘Sooner or later’ doesn’t specify time. So [Hoogerbeets] didn’t predict the quake,” Roger Musson, a geologist with over 35 years of experience in seismology who previously worked for the British Geological Survey as head of seismic hazards and archives, told Newsweek.

In 2018, Hoogerbeets was once famous in the mainstream media for a similar prediction based on “planetary geometry”. Then this one stayed debunked by expertsincluding Australian seismologist Professor Bryan Gaensler, who told the Daily Mail that “the alignment of the planets has no effect on earthquakes.” As he added, “the plane has a greater gravitational pull [niż planety]”.

Can an earthquake be predicted? There is no reliable scientific method

Although geologists know a lot about the enormous forces that lie in the tectonic plates deep below the earth’s surface, an earthquake cannot be predicted with the same ease with which meteorologists publish weather forecasts.

Can earthquakes be effectively predicted? “Neither the USGS nor any other scientist has ever predicted a major earthquake. We don’t know how [je przewidzieć] and we don’t expect to know how in the near future. USGS scientists can only calculate the probability of a significant earthquake in a certain area over a certain number of years. USGS scientists answer.

They further note that some claim to be able to predict earthquakes, but these claims are false. “Predictions (by non-scientists) tend to start circulating on social media when what is believed to be a foreshadowing of an earthquake in the near future is happening,” the USGS adds. The so-called precursor is often, for example, a swarm of small earthquakes, higher radon content in water, or unusual behavior of animals, but unfortunately, most of such precursors often occur without an earthquake, so a true prediction is not possible” – the geologists explain.

“Due to their destructive potential, there is great interest in predicting where and when large earthquakes will occur. While much is known about where earthquakes are likely, there is currently no reliable way to predict the days or months an event will occur in a particular location ” – explain Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) is a research facility run by the University of Washington and the University of Oregon that monitors earthquake and volcanic activity in the Pacific Northwest.

Why are earthquakes difficult to predict? This question was also answered by the European Geosciences Union (EGU): “Earthquake generation is a very complex process deep in the earth’s crust. The magnitude and timing of a large earthquake depends on various factors, such as the size of the fault “The magnitude of the stresses accumulated there. Measuring them is an engineering feat in itself, since it requires drilling several kilometers into the ground. Also, scientists don’t know exactly how much stress is needed to break a fault. However, once enough stress is accumulated, even an earthquake of small force can turn into a cascade or cause large quakes.

EGU notes that a possible earthquake prediction strategy would be to find a “diagnostic antecedent”. Such a factor “should be an observable signal,” such as ground deformation, anomalous emission of radon gas from the Earth’s interior, or strange animal behavior detected before any tremors occurred. “This diagnostic signal then indicates – with high probability and strong statistical significance – where, when and with what strength an earthquake will occur. However, this earthquake prediction strategy has not yet provided an effective and statistically stable prediction scheme. International Commission on Earthquake Prediction for Conservation The National Population Council reviewed a number of proposed precursors in 2011 and concluded that none offered a reliable method for detecting an impending earthquake.

Predict an earthquake. “The first person to do this will get the Nobel Prize”

“We can’t predict earthquakes. That is, we can’t say that it will occur tomorrow or the day after tomorrow at a given time. What we do know is that we are in a region that is a seismic region that is at the junction of tectonic plates, and there are earthquakes in this area. So actually, this location in space says that it is a seismic region and these earthquakes occur, but it is impossible to predict them anyway” – said on February 7 on TVN24 Dr. Eng. Anna Kwietniak from the Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow.

The same opinion was held by Dr. hab. Mariusz Majdański from the Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who visited the morning band Radio 357. Asked whether we are unable to predict disasters such as those in Turkey and Syria, he replied: “Of course, this is a natural earthquake that cannot be predicted. We can say roughly which areas will be at risk or such quakes may occur or have historically occurred. However, it is impossible to predict such a phenomenon.

When the interviewer quoted the “predictions” that the Dutchman published on Twitter a few days ago, Dr. Majdański replied: “We would love to [przewidywać trzęsienia ziemi]. Many seismologists around the world are trying to do this. The first person to do this will get the Nobel Prize, no doubt, and it will save a lot of lives. We know in which areas earthquakes occur, we can determine the probability of occurrence in a certain period. However, providing a specific date, time and hour is unrealistic. Many people have tried, many people shoot, someone will hit – statistically. However, there is no scientific evidence that such a phenomenon could be predicted.

Author:Gabriela Sieczkowska

Main photo source: PAP/EPA





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