Disaster Fact Checks

FALSE: ‘Blot Echo Wind Map’ predicts earthquakes

Rappler.com
FALSE: ‘Blot Echo Wind Map’ predicts earthquakes
Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum Jr and UP geologists say the Blot Echo Wind Map is not backed by science
At a glance
  • Claim: The “Blot Echo Wind Map” predicts earthquakes.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum Jr. and University of the Philippines (UP) geologists say the Blot Echo Wind Map is not backed by science.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The claim was submitted to Rappler via email for checking. One post with this claim specifying the Philippines has over 30,000 reactions, 2,900 comments, and 46,000 shares on Facebook as of writing.
Complete details 

A series of Facebook posts published from January 23 to January 24 by Facebook page “The Watchmen’s Earth and Space connection” claim they used a “Blot Echo Wind Map” to predict that earthquakes will happen in several countries.

The page published a post on January 24 with a caption saying: “The entire Philippines is under a quake watch. So you just need to stay alert. Right now most quakes have been in the water but I’m afraid they are going to start moving towards the inner faults soon. It could be anywhere in the Philippines.”

Then on January 24, the page published another post that supposedly explained what the “Blot Echo Wind Map” shows. The post’s caption has a line that reads, “Guys when I say Philippines is under a quake watch it doesn’t mean the entire Philippines will see big quakes. It means that within the next 72 hours there is a risk for possible quakes 4.0 or higher. All you can do is just stay alert. The more blot hits you get then the more chance there will be possible bigger shallow ones.”

The claim was submitted to Rappler via email for checking. One post with the claim specifying the Philippines has over 30,000 reactions, 2,900 comments, and 46,000 shares on Facebook as of writing.

This claim is false. 

Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., officer-in-charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), told Rappler that using the Blot Echo Wind Map to predict earthquakes is not backed by science.

“I have not encountered scientific articles using wind maps to predict seismic activity. Most damaging earthquakes are related to the movement of active faults and trenches, sometimes by strong volcanic earthquakes. The main driving forces for these processes would be the internal heat of the earth and tectonic plate motions and have no relation to winds,” Solidum said in an email. 

Meanwhile, Dr. John Dale Dianala, a structural geologist and a faculty member of the UP National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS), explained to Rappler that using the Blot Echo Wind Map in predicting earthquakes is pseudoscience at best and any kind of correct prediction given by the maps are just mere coincidences.  

“Any kind of ‘correct’ prediction based on these maps is a coincidence, in part thanks to the broad nature of the assessments. For example, in one of the maps that you linked, the whole Philippines is red. As a country that experiences more than 20 earthquakes every day, we are bound to get an earthquake that will fit their supposed predictions,” Dianala said.

Raul Benjamin Mendoza, outgoing faculty member of UP-NIGS and a graduate student of geophysics at the University of British Columbia, explained to Rappler that the app cited by “The Watchmen’s Earth and Space connection” on their Facebook page contains reports on its website that were not published by a reputable journal, implying that it is not backed by science.

Both the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), have also long maintained that earthquakes cannot be predicted.

One of the creators of the “Blot Echo Windmap,” Ben Davidson and his organization “Suspicious0bservers,” were fact-checked by Climate Feedback in 2021 for a claim that said that the planet is heading towards an Ice Age. 

Rappler has debunked claims on earthquake predictions multiple times in the past. Here are other Rappler fact checks on earthquake predictions:

 – Lorenz Dantes Pasion/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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