Disaster Fact Checks

FACT CHECK:  No prediction of earthquakes happening ‘in the coming days’


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FACT CHECK:  No prediction of earthquakes happening ‘in the coming days’
With the current limitations in technology, scientists can’t give an accurate prediction of when and where an earthquake will occur.

Claim: A self-proclaimed mystic claims that several earthquakes will hit the Philippines within the next few days.

In a Facebook post on May 11, purported psychic Rudy Baldwin claims, “ME MAGAGANAP NA PAULIT ULIT NA LINDOL SA MGA DARATING NA MGA ARAW


(Repeated earthquakes will occur in the coming days. Be careful, as one of these earthquakes will be strong.)

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The claim was made by a popular Filipino figure with 4.1 million followers. As of writing, the post has 48,000 reactions, 3,700 comments, and 14,000 shares.

Debunked by authorities: The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has repeatedly warned the public against supposed earthquake predictions. There is currently no way to predict the exact time and place where an earthquake would occur.

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EXPLAINER: Is it possible to predict earthquakes?

EXPLAINER: Is it possible to predict earthquakes?

In November 2019, Phivolcs issued a statement warning the public about a rumor claiming that a 7.1-magnitude earthquake would hit Metro Manila. The agency said: “Sa kasalakuyan, wala pang teknolohiya sa buong mundo na maaring malaman kung kailan maaring maganap ang isang malakas na lindol.

(Currently, there is no technology in the world capable of determining when a strong earthquake will occur.)

Seismologists can only make estimates and calculate the probability of earthquakes happening in a specific area within a certain number of years. 

Elements of earthquake prediction: According to the United States Geographical Survey, so-called earthquake predictions fail to define three elements: date and time, location, and magnitude of the quake. 

Given these criteria, the Facebook post claiming that an earthquake will occur “in the coming days” fails as a prediction because it lacks specificity on its magnitude and when and where exactly the tremor would occur.

False claims: Rappler has debunked several claims concerning earthquakes and future natural disasters, including this one citing predictions from the same psychic, Rudy Baldwin.

Miguel Batallones/Rappler.com

Miguel Batallones is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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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