Geologist Jim Berkland has been known for predicting earthquakes and being controversial in the scientific community. But, however controversial, he did predict a handful of earthquakes based on the tides, moons, and changes in animal behavior.
Berkland worked as a Geologist for Santa Clara County but was suspended and asked to stop making predictions because they were afraid of mass panic, he did not stop making predictions, however, he did stop publishing his predictions. Many of his critics claim that you can not predict earthquakes; however, Berkland's response was:
It's really very simple to predict earthquakes, and anyone could do it," Jim Berkland liked to say. "The hard part is being right."
According to Berkland, when he visited Peru to see the eclipse, a Peruvian man told him ¨we watch the eclipse, and then we wait for the earthquake¨.
It is said it is an ancient Peruvian belief that solar eclipses are involved with triggering earthquakes. At this point, Berkland knew he was on to something. Berkland studied the phenomenon for three decades. According to Berkland, the linking up of the sun, moon, and Earth can often trigger quakes, and the relative position of the sun and moon above the fault lines trigger an earthquake.
Berkland would also factor in how close the moon is to Earth during these cycles since the moon's orbit is not a perfect circle, yet more of an elliptical shape; the nearest point of the moon's orbit is called Perigee, and the farther away is called Apogee. When the moon is in Perigee, its pull on the Earth is 20% stronger than at Apogee.
Berkland would then combine and calculate how much pressure the moon puts on the faultlines while it passes above. Berkland suggests that a new moon at Perigee can cause unstable faultlines to slip. It has proven to be an accurate way to detect earthquakes in the past, including the 6.9 magnitude World Series earthquake on October 27, 1989.
He also predicted around Christmas of 2004, an earthquake around the full moon, there would be another earthquake, and he was right. The earthquake that triggered the Indian Ocean Tsunami occurred on December 26, 2004, during a full moon.
Berkland also predicted in 2005, there would be another big earthquake of at least 7.0. Weeks after his prediction, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan after a solar eclipse over the country. In 1989 he predicted the Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
Other geologists do not feel there is a link between the moon and earthquakes. Jim Berkland died on July 22, 2016. You can read more about Berkland in his book The man who predicts earthquakes.