Japanese Fear Oarfish Sightings Are Quake Omen
Superstitious worry as deep-sea dweller begins surfacing
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2010 6:49 AM CST
Bermudans believed they had found a sea serpent when a 16-foot oarfish washed ashore in 1860.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Dozens of sightings of a very rarely seen fish have raised Japanese fears that their country may be the next one rocked by a major quake. The appearance of oarfish—which can grow to up to 16 feet long and frequent depths of up to 3,300 feet—is considered an omen of an impending earthquake, according to Japanese lore. They have been washing up on beaches and appearing in fishing nets in numerous locations around the country in recent weeks.

Some theories hold that movement around seismic fault lines could cause unusual behavior in sea creatures that live at great depths, although Japan's scientists are relying on their advanced monitoring equipment instead of the fish. "In ancient times Japanese people believed that fish warned of coming earthquakes," the director of the Kobe Earthquake Center tells the Daily Telegraph. "But these are just old superstitions and there is no scientific relationship between these sightings and an earthquake."

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
kajiki008
Mar 14, 2011 11:30 PM CDT
Today is March 15th - Can we now call this superstition or pure coincidence
polliwog
Mar 4, 2010 11:09 PM CST
If I was watching the edge off the woods from the grassy field that bordered it and saw the forest creatures fleeing to the open field I would take heed. First to the direction they are running too letting me now what direction the danger is in. Second I would consider the cost of fleeing verses staying in their safe zone and if fleeing out in open sight and reach of all predators with no cover is better than to stay put I would be considering the forest fire consuming their habitat and run to call for help. The sea is just another forest only difference is it is water God help all the people and the creatures and take care of them wonderfully.
Observer
Mar 4, 2010 10:27 PM CST
They probably do. So all you superstitious Japanese send me your cash and stocks and jump into the ocean with weights on.