Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Elephants, Tsunamis, and Etho-Geological Forecasting

Devastated Indonesian Province of Aceh

During one weekend in late August, 1883, a circus elephant in the Dutch Indies town of Batavia went uncharacteristically berserk, trumpeting, trampling, and smashing everything in its path. The circus had come to Indonesia, but this animal was going to have none of it.

On the following Monday, a giant explosion the likes of which the world had never heard occurred in the Sunda strait, unleashing a tsunami that killed tens of thousands. Yes, it was the tsunami that caused the devastation of Krakatoa in 1883, just like the Aceh seismic event unleashed this week's horror.

The pachyderm in Batavia may have just had a bad day, but evidence is mounting that there might be some substance to the here-to-fore unheard of science: Etho-Geological Forecasting.

There are now curious reports that this week's tsunami didn't seem to kill any animals in Sri Lanka - almost as if they had advance warning. Perhaps there is a low-tech way to anticipate such calamities? Why not channel a few more dollars towards getting in tune with the animal kingdom?

It sounds like we're going to need it. According to Simon Winchester, author of Krakatoa, the Day the World Exploded, seismic events like this week's earthquake can cause ripple effects throughout the world's precarious balance of plate tectonics.

So if you don't have a pet elephant handy, you might want to pay particularly close attention to your dog over the next few days. . .