ScreenHunter_114 Apr. 13 15.59

We don’t think we have to tell you that when some lunatic wearing a sandwich board starts telling you that the earth will open up and swallow humanity whole if you don’t do seven Hail Marys, constantly chant “Yahweh,” and transfer a small donation exceeding 10 dollars to his PayPal account right now, you can probably take that prediction with a grain of salt.

But, when it comes to earthquakes, there are actually some pretty solid, observable predictors that one may be coming soon. And, holy crap you guys, there are a bunch of those happening right now in Japan and I for one am starting to get worried.

First up, we had the well-documented mass beaching of a bunch of melon-headed whales (which we are told are actually a type of dolphin and not tiny whales) that happened a few days ago in Ibaraki Prefecture, with around half of the 150 beached dolphins reported to have died. And while some of you may shrug and write this off as a sad accident of some sort, the rest of us are freaking the $’&# out, because just before the last time Japan experienced a major earthquake (you know the one), there was a similar mass beaching of around 50 of the same type of dolphin, and dolphins running themselves aground before major earthquakes has been documented in other parts of the world too.

Now, animals acting weird right before earthquakes is a well-documented thing. Just take a look at this otherwise normal-looking dog that sniffs the ground for a second and then bolts off like there’s someone having a Beggin’ Strips party in the other room just seconds before a 6.5 earthquake strikes the area. 

Now, the official US government explanation behind this phenomenon is that many animals, including domesticated ones, are more sensitive to the more difficult-to-detect “P wave” tremors that directly precede an earthquake, which would explain why dogs, cats and the like don’t start acting like they huffed all your Elmer’s glue until mere seconds before a quake hits. Nevertheless, there’s tons of anecdotal evidence and speculation that some animals with keen senses can detect minute changes in their environment days in advance of a major disaster or weather event.

And, there’s more…

Late Saturday night, April 11, Twitter suddenly lit up with countless Tweets coming out of Mie Prefecture of people claiming they felt tremors and even heard the earth itself briefly rumbling, which to those who experienced the last catastrophic earthquake probably seems like the geological equivalent of a guy cracking his knuckles just before delivering a major ass-kicking.

Still not enough to induce pants-wetting terror for you? On Sunday, April 12, many in Japan reported seeing a so-called “earthquake cloud” looming in the sky.

While this is probably the most tenuous evidence for an impending earthquake, such clouds have been reported prior to major earthquake events since antiquity and, while, largely, not endorsed by the scientific community, earthquake clouds definitely get a lot of traction with the sandwich board crowd.

Is it entirely possible that Japan residents are a little oversensitive to this circumstantial evidence in light of the last disastrous earthquake to strike but a few short years ago? Absolutely. Is it worrying enough to make us consider packing a change of underwear? Yes; in fact, we just went ahead and switched to diapers until this whole thing (hopefully) blows over.

Also, joking aside: If you or a loved one currently lives in, or is visiting, Japan, make sure you brush up on your emergency drills, ensure your earthquake pack is properly stocked, and decide on a foolproof way to get in touch with family just in case. Stay safe, people!

Feature Photo: Twitter