Source: Nature: "Can Animals Predict Disaster?"
Major corporate support for the Nature collection was provided by Canon U.S.A. and SC Johnson. Additional support was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the nation’s public television stations.
In 2004, the sudden rupture of a huge fault beneath the Indian Ocean unleashed a devastating tsunami. There had been no warning signs prior to the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that reached the shores of the Indian Ocean and ravaged the coastal areas of Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, and Sri Lanka. However, many animals were able to escape the tsunami's destruction. This video segment from Nature examines the anatomy of the tsunami and the possibility that animals sensed the coming waves of destruction.
An earthquake is caused by a sudden rupture or movement in the earth’s crust, usually due to the release of tectonic stresses which have accumulated over time. Seismic waves radiate from an earthquake’s epicenter as energy from the rupture is transferred and dissipated through the earth. When this rupture occurs underwater, water is also displaced, creating massively destructive waves called tsunamis. The animal survival rate of the tsunami of December 26, 2004 led some scientists to theorize about how animals’ greater sensitivity to seismic waves might have given them a lifesaving warning about the disaster which claimed over a quarter million human lives.
On December 26th, 2004, a global network of infrasonic recording stations picked up a terrifying and otherworldly sound.
It is the sound of the ocean floor ripping for hundreds of miles and suddenly rising some 70 feet, displacing thousands of tons of water. Within hours, more then two hundred and fifty-thousand people would lose their lives to one of the deadliest tsunamis in human history. The tsunami created by the massive earthquake on the ocean floor moved toward shore at some 500 miles per hour.
But this terrifying seismic pulse was traveling through the water and ground about 10 times faster. It may be possible some animals detected this faster-moving signal and ran for safer ground, before the waves of destruction pounded the shore.
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