Monster Oarfish Beachings Raise Earthquake Questions

A series of
serpent-like sea creatures have recently been found washed up on California
beaches, leading some scientists to speculate that an ancient myth about the
fish portending earthquakes could be true.
In recent
weeks several
, rarely seen giants of the deep that can grow up to 50-feet long,
have been found along the southern California coast.

centuries-old Japanese myth holds that oarfish beach themselves prior to an
earthquake. One 2010 report found that some Japanese feared an earthquake in
that country following oarfish sightings prior to destructive tremors in Chile
and Haiti.
The fish,
believed to be the ocean’s largest scaled fish, also washed up in the months
before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami near Sendai, Japan.
scientists have speculated that the ancient myth could be rooted in reality,
speculating that the deep-dwelling fish might be attuned to seismic changes.
But most
marine biologists believe there still is not enough evidence to conclude that
oarfish are harbingers of earthquakes. The beachings, they say, may be
“I don’t
discredit or disrespect the Japanese theory at all,” Pat Abbott, a seismologist
at San Diego State University told
. “The science and study just isn’t there. There’s a big
difference between suggesting something like that and proving it. What did an
animal sense that maybe we didn’t that told them about a coming event?”

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