earthquakeWith the onslaught of recent quakes in the bay, it’s only natural for people to start speculating about what’s going to happen these days. Whether it’s our very own Yoshua or professors falsely predicting a 6.0 and then confessing they pulled that prediction out of … nowhere, there’s no tuning out the quake talk — but what’s real and what are just myths?

Well, to start, there is actually no evidence of a large earthquake hitting the Berkeley area immediately despite a viral email saying it will come in the next few weeks. Geologists can’t exactly predict earthquakes but many believe that the chances of a major one hitting in the next 30 years is 67 percent in the Bay Area and 60 percent in Southern California.

Regardless of this vague estimate, here are a few myths about earthquakes that have been debunked:

California will fall into the sea: False, but there could be landslides that change the shape of the coastline.

The safest place to go is under a doorway: Unless you’re living in an ancient adobe hut, this is no longer true. You probably want to get under your table or desk for maximum protection.

Animals can “sense” when an earthquake is going to strike: There is no consistent evidence of this. A dog could be acting weird because there’s an earthquake coming … or it could just be because he smells something nasty; there’s no way to tell.

Big earthquakes always happen in the morning: There have been plenty of major earthquakes at nighttime or in the afternoon.

Earthquakes happen during “earthquake weather“: Reality — they can hit anytime so you best be prepared!

Image source: martinluff under Creative Commons
Berkeley city: No truth to viral email predicting quake [Berkeleyside]
Earthquake Myths [State of California Department of Conservation]

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