Did oarfish just predict the 7.3 Japan quake?!
Quake appears to have been powerful, but did little damage.
An apparent magnitude 7.1 or 7.3 earthquake has struck off the coast of Japan, rattling nerves and prompting a tsunami warning, but doing no apparent major damage. The curious are wondering if recent oarfish sightings in California were related.
The power and proximity of the quake make it notable. The quake has struck within 231 miles of the stricken Fukushima Daiiachi nuclear power plant, which was destroyed in March, 2011 by a tsunami.
Japanese officials declared a tsunami warning for Honshu island, with a possible tsunami height of three feet, enough to be dangerous along the coast itself, but unlikely to cause major damage inland. The warning was not extended to any other region or across the Pacific.
As of now, there are no apparent reports of significant damage or casualties.
The quake was felt 300 miles away in Tokyo.
The power and timing of the quake has some wondering if the beachings of two oarfish in Southern California over the last two weeks are somehow related. In Japanese folklore, oarfish are harbingers of earthquakes and scientists theorize they could be more sensitive to seismic disturbances.
However, no evidence of this exists. Also, the oarfish beached themselves across the ocean from Japan, when there are also plenty of oarfish in the waters off Japan. No oarfish have been sighted in the region of the recent quake.
Finally, earthquakes happen with or without oarfish, so their appearance is unlikely to be of any practical use in predicting quakes. Major quakes occur almost weekly somewhere in the Pacific Ring of Fire, so any oarfish sighting can be argued to predict something, when in reality the poor fish were likely just caught in powerful underwater currents.
Despite their size, oarfish are known to be weak swimmers.
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