Fact Check By: Newswise
A Dutch researcher predicted the earthquake would happen three days beforeClaim Publisher and Date: Instagram post, among others on 2023-02-06
Following the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria in early February 2023, claims on social media went viral concerning how a Dutch scientist predicted the disaster days before the first quake that read 7.8 on the Richter scale. See here and here for examples. The claim stems from a tweet by Frank Hoogerbeets, a Dutch researcher from the 'Solar System Geography Survey (SSGEOS)." On February 3rd, 2023, Hoogerbeets tweeted, "Sooner or later there will be a ~M 7.5 #earthquake in this region (South-Central Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon)." He included a map, showing a red circle on roughly the same area where the quake hit. In the past, Hoogerbeets has been described as a "quake mystic" who believes the movement of planets in our solar system can help us predict earthquakes. However, the USGS, one of the world's most leading scientific organizations on earthquakes, unequivocally says that no scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. "USGS scientists can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur (shown on our hazard mapping) in a specific area within a certain number of years." Therefore, this claim that Hoogerbeets predicted the earthquake using scientific methods is false.
While scientists have made significant advances in understanding earthquakes, there is no reliable method for accurately predicting earthquakes with a high degree of certainty. Scientists use various methods to monitor and analyze seismic activity, including seismometers, GPS sensors, and satellite data. They also study the geological characteristics of fault zones and other factors that can influence earthquake activity.
While these methods can provide valuable insights into earthquake activity, they cannot accurately predict earthquakes. At best, they can provide early warning systems, allowing people to take precautions and minimize the impact of earthquakes. However, even these early warning systems are limited in their ability to provide timely and accurate predictions of earthquakes.
Prof. Javed N Malik, an earthquake expert at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India has this to say...
The area where the recent Turkey / Syria earthquake occurred is known for its seismic volatility. The deformation caused due to tectonic activities in the Anatolian plate has been noted for some time now.
A detailed study of any affected area over a period of time can result in informed speculation about the upcoming activities. These are established with extensive scientific data collection based on multiple aspects like planetary movement, GPS tracking, four shocks theory, animal behavior mapping, electronic reactions and many more.
However, any of the above can simply result in an approximate and calculated prediction, and not an assurance of the same. In the past, we have witnessed these predictions to have been preventive, but also many a times no activity has occurred as denoted on the dates and numbers.
Many research groups all over the world are working on methods to better the process, but to my knowledge we have yet to reach a stage where it can be predicted with a 100% certainty.
Note to Journalists/Editors: The expert quotes are free to use in your relevant articles on this topic. Please attribute them to their proper sources.