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.
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule 2015-01-30 3:13 Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya?
Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011.
Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
Swedish Office Block Pushes Microchips on its Staff 2015-01-30 2:12
Sweden is heading over the cliff in multiple areas, all at once. They are pushing the abolition of cash, run amok state feminism, gender war, pacification of the police and perhaps even more frightening: open borders. A policy that have given the country a "gold medal" in asylum seeker acceptance. Run away
Charlie Hebdo: Where Neocons, Zionists, Masons and Communists Converge 2015-01-30 1:20 Charlie Hebdo, raising the banner of revolt, has always regurgitated precisely what the “system” required.
Charlie Hebdo (CH) came out of the New Left milieu of the 1960s and is a product of the 1968 revolt against President Charles de Gaulle. It happens that the most famous of the New Left revolts came at a time when (1) the CIA was ...
The Liberation of Auschwitz 2015-01-30 0:12
This article is perhaps a day late, but it will be some time before talk of the Holocaust subsides in the mainstream press, especially now that we are to have a vast new Holocaust Memorial Centre built with £50 million of taxpayers money in central London, to replace the rather unimpressive one that already exists in Hyde Park.
In the various ...
Facebook’s New ‘Chinese-style’ Political Censorship System Goes Global 2015-01-29 4:35
Last week 21WIRE reported on Facebook’s new communitarian policy whereby readers can ‘flag’ content as “fake news” if they believe it’s not real, or if they do not like it. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo False Flag event, the social media giant is now allowing governments to determine what is ‘good free speech’, and what is not.
“An article ...