Feeds

China deploys head-banging snakes for earthquake prediction

Richter scales

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The bizarre behaviour of snakes is being used as an earthquake sensor in China. The serpents, a winter delicacy in the south of the country, apparently freak out up to five days before a tremor.

Nanning earthquake bureau director Jiang Weisong told the state-owned China Daily: "When an earthquake is about to occur, snakes will move out of their nests, even in the cold of winter. If the earthquake is a big one, the snakes will even smash into walls while trying to escape."

Authorities monitor a 24-hour video feed from a nearby snake farm. The animals can predict a quake up to 120km away, the bureau claims.

The head-banging snakes are not China's first brush with using animal instincts for earthquake prediction. In 1975 authorities ordered the one million residents of Haicheng to evacuate days before a tremor shook the city at 7.3 on the Richter scale, claiming animal evidence predicted the event. Geologist have since claimed a rare series of foretremors alerted instruments. More here.

Anecdotal evidence has long suggested animals are able to sense impending natural disasters. In 373BC the Greek city of Helice was flattened by an earthquake. Contemporary historians said that rats, snakes and weasels deserted the area in the days beforehand. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.