Toads could be used to predict earthquakes
2011 12 05

By Murray Wardrop | Telegraph.co.uk

Animals could be used to predict earthquakes because certain species are able to sense chemical changes in groundwater immediately before seismic activity, a study suggests.



Experts began investigating the theory after a colony of toads was observed abandoning a pond in L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009, days before the devastating earthquake.

They believe that stressed rocks in the Earth’s crust release charged particles before an earthquake, which react with groundwater.
Animals living in or near groundwater, such as toads, are highly sensitive to such changes and may therefore notice signs of an impending quake.

The researchers, led by Friedemann Freund from Nasa and Rachel Grant from the UK’s Open University, hope their findings will inspire biologists and geologists to work together in improving earthquake prediction.

Although not the first example of abnormal animal activity observed prior to earthquakes, the case of the L’Aquila toads was different in that they were being studied in detail at the time

Miss Grant, a biologist, was monitoring the toad colony as part of her PhD project in the days before the Italian earthquake disaster.

"It was very dramatic. It went from 96 toads to almost zero over three days. After that, I was contacted by Nasa," she told the BBC.

Scientists at the US space agency had been studying the chemical changes that occur when rocks are put under extreme stress and questioned whether they were linked to the toads’ departure.

Lab tests have since suggested that changes in the Earth’s crust could have directly affected the chemistry of the pond that the toads were living and breeding in at the time.

Dr Freund, a Nasa geophysicist, said that the charged particles, released from stressed rocks, react with the air when they reach the Earth’s surface, converting air molecules into charged particles known as ions.

"Positive airborne ions are known in the medical community to cause headaches and nausea in humans and to increase the level of serotonin, a stress hormone, in the blood of animals," said Dr Freund.
They can also react with water, turning it into hydrogen peroxide, the scientist added.

This chemical chain of events could affect the organic material dissolved in the pond water, turning harmless organic material into substances that are toxic to aquatic animals.

[...]

Read the full article at: telegraph.co.uk







Video from: YouTube.com








Related Articles
Humans are descended from fish-like animal with a ’sixth sense’
Humans May Have ’Magnetic’ Sixth Sense
Pandas Sensed China Quake Coming?
Borneo’s rainbow toad, last seen by explorers in 1924, photographed by scientists for 1st time
Toads can ’predict earthquakes’ and seismic activity
Did toads predict the earthquake?
"Extinct" frog hops back into northern Israel
Killer frog virus sweeps Britain wiping out hundreds of thousands of amphibians
Frog the Size of a Pea Discovered in Borneo
Frogs found whose toes morph into claws
Scientists unearth prehistoric ’frog from hell’


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »