Oarfish: Looming Natural Disaster? - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Oarfish: Looming Natural Disaster?

Two huge oarfish were found last week off the California coast.  (I'm sure you've seen the pictures.  This has been all over the news.)

Well, some believe this is a sign of an impending earthquake. 

First, let's get some history to this story.  Last week, an 18-foot-oarfish washed ashore.  It took 16 people to drag it.  Then a few days later, a second 'sea monster' washed ashore measuring almost 14 feet.

Scientists say it happened because the fish were 'in distress.' 

Japanese folklore believes otherwise.  Some believe the bottom-dwelling fish are more sensitive to seismic shifts. 

It happened back in 2011.  More than a dozen oarfish washed ashore in Northeast Japan before an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit. 

Oarfish can grow to more than 50 feet in length.  They are considered the longest bony fish in the world.  They usually dive more than 3,000 feet deep.  Because of this, sightings are rare. 

Other scientists say there is no data to support an actual link between the two phenomena. 

One California scientist says he believes the two recent oarfish could have been starving or disoriented. 

But just to make sure, tissue samples and video footage have been sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California. 

The belief that animals can predict earthquakes and other natural disasters - and even the weather - has been around for centuries. 

Even in 373 BC, historians recorded that animals, including rats, snakes and weasels, deserted the Greek city of Helice in droves just days before a quake devastated the place. 

According to a report from the National Geographic, catfish move violently before an earthquake, chickens stop laying eggs and bees leave their hive in a panic. 

Some believe wild and domestic creatures feel the Earth vibrate before humans. 

So these recent oarfish sightings...?  Only time will tell.


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