Jim Berkland, a former U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geologist who predicted the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California, has warned that a mega earthquake and tsunami could hit the U.S. West Coast in a matter of hours.
The latest prediction from a geologist, following a series of major quakes and volcanic eruptions along the notorious Pacific Ring of Fire (the circum-Pacific Belt), has added to rising fears of major seismic upheaval in the U.S.
The Pacific Ring of Fire is the 40,000-kilometer horseshoe-shaped region of more than 450 volcanoes, stretching from the tip of South America to New Zealand via North America, the Bering Strait, and Japan.
Following the recent series of major earthquakes in South America and South Asia that caused loss of lives in Japan and Ecuador, geologists, including the Roger Bilham, geologist and geophysicist at the University of Colorado, have voiced concern that the world is going through a period of increased seismic activity that puts millions of people in the U.S. West Coast at great risk of mega earthquakes of magnitude 8.0 and above.
According to Berkland in his latest prediction, there is a significantly heightened risk of a mega earthquake on Friday because the day coincides with a full moon, Express reports. Berkland claims that mega earthquakes often occur at a new or full moon because of the gravitational effect or tidal force that the Moon exerts on the Earth. He noted that 20 of the last 25 mega earthquakes occurred during a new or full moon.
The controversial geologist, who obtained his degree in geology from the University of California at Berkeley, had predicted the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake four days before it hit Northern California on October 17, 1989. This time around, he has voiced concern that both the San Andreas Fault in California and the Cascadia Subduction Zone that stretches from Northern California to Northern Vancouver Island in Canada are overdue to experience major quakes that could cause catastrophic tsunamis.
He warns, “Beware of the new and full moons.”
Berkland claims that after he predicted the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, “men in black” warned that he should stop making earthquake predictions because it could cause mass panic. But he has exploited his prediction of the Loma Prieta earthquake to promote himself as an authority in earthquake prediction. He maintains a website where he posts his predictions and warnings of coming earthquake disasters. A book was published about him in 2006 that celebrated him as The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes.
But Berkland’s claims about his ability to predict earthquakes are disputed and dismissed by mainstream scientists who say his methods border on quackery despite his formal academic training as a geologist.
Despite predicting the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, critics often point to the failure of subsequent predictions, such as a prediction he made during a Fox News interview on March 2011 that there would be a massive earthquake in California between March 19 and March 26, 2011. Citing the influence of tidal forces, he predicted that the quake would strike on Saturday, March 19, 2011. But the day passed uneventfully.
His critics also challenge his claim that his predictions have 75 percent accuracy by pointing out that his methods for estimating his accuracy rate are deeply flawed.
The 2005 book about him, The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes by journalist Cal Corey, has been criticized severely.
“Instead of basing predictions on well-grounded science, some of the parameters used by this geologist tend to border on what many would call the paranormal.
“Berkland, battles high science with his claims that earthquakes can be predicted by counting runaway dogs and cats, ear tones, headaches, dreams, and solar flares.
“His foremost claim is that predictions based on tides are accurate enough to issue warnings. Unfortunately, this idea is centuries old, and was debunked decades ago with precision and emphasis by dozens of much more careful studies than Berkland has done.”
Despite criticism of his methods, his latest prediction is likely to raise concerns, as it comes at a time of apparent increase in global seismic activity. Fears of imminent disruptive seismic activity have sparked bizarre conspiracy theories that reflect growing public anxiety. The conspiracy theory blogosphere came alive recently with claims that a clandestine group is planning a Yellowstone false flag attack, an alleged attempt to artificially induce an eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano.
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