Monday, September 03, 2012
Can crocodiles predict earthquakes?
Well there is a more reasonable explanation. Lolong was simply responding to low frequency vibrations transmitted through the ground immediately prior to the earthquake. These are termed P waves, or compressional waves, and it's often difficult for humans to detect these. Crocodiles, however, are experts at detecting changes in pressure and vibrations, so it's very likely that Lolong was feeling the P waves produced at the beginning of the tremor. S waves, or shear waves, tend to follow P waves and are the ones that do the damage, and the ones that we are most aware of.
Why did Lolong react to the P waves? We know that crocodiles are highly sensitive to pressure waves, senses that are used not only to detect potential prey but also for social communication. Thunder and vibrations transmitted through the ground frequently trigger a territorial response from large male crocodiles (and a fear, distress response from small, subordinate crocodiles), and an earthquake's P wave would only heighten that response. There wouldn't be many crocodiles capable of giving Lolong a serious territorial challenge, but the P wave of an impending earthquake would very likely feel like one.
Did giant croc 'Lolong' predict 7.6 quake? | ABS-CBN News
Image credit: http://alabamaquake.com/