Are California’s giant dead oarfish a sign of an impending earthquake disaster?

October 23, 2013CATALINA ISLAND, Ca.  — Could the appearance of rare “sea serpents” washing ashore beaches in Southern California portend disaster? The question comes following the discovery of the carcass of a rare 18-foot-long oarfish off the coast of Catalina Island on Oct. 13, followed by another snakelike 14-foot-long oarfish found on Oct. 18 in Oceanside. Fishermen in Japan reported a sharp uptick in oarfish sightings in March 2010 following the massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile that same month, which marked almost exactly one year before the country was devastated by its own magnitude-8.9 quake in northeast Japan. Oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet in length, are considered the longest bony fish in the world. They typically dive more than 3,000 feet deep, which makes sightings rare and has fueled various serpent legends throughout history. According to traditional Japanese lore, oarfish rise to the water’s surface and beach themselves to warn of an impending earthquake, a notion that some scientists have speculated could be supported by the bottom-dwelling fish being more sensitive to seismic shifts.
Known as the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace,” over a dozen “ryugu no tsukai,” or slender oarfish, either washed ashore or were caught in fishing nets in the Ishikawa, Toyama, Kyoto, Shimane and Nagasaki prefectures near the quake’s epicenter months before the 2011 quake hit, according to several reports. Scientists, however, say there is no data to support an actual link between the two phenomena. “It’s probably just a coincidence,” said Rick Feeney, who has been studying fish for almost 35 years for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. According to Feeney, four sightings have been reported since 2010 from the Central Coast southward, including in Malibu in 2010 and Lompoc in 2011. “We think that they come inshore to die actually because they’re in distress for some reason, but we don’t know what the reason is,” said Feeney, adding that the fish could have been starving or disoriented. But the fish remain somewhat of a mystery to researchers because there have been few Oarfish caught over the years, he said. A record number of sea lion sightings were reported along Southland beaches earlier this year, including one declared “unusual mortality event” in April that saw hundreds of ailing sea lion pups washed ashore. –CBS
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13 Responses to Are California’s giant dead oarfish a sign of an impending earthquake disaster?

  1. bobby90247 says:

    Although I believe it’s from the Fukushima Reactor, I guess it could be from sulfur & other gases ejected from underground fissure’s and/or volcanoes…huh!


  2. Wiseup says:

    More likely due to the radiation from Fukushima.


  3. Julie says:

    The cause, as im sure allot of people would agree, is most likely the radiation from fuckishema. I heard of a man who is a fisherman who sailed 3,000 miles and said the ocean was dead. He saw no fish no birds, they saw one whale laboring through the waves and it appeared it had a tumor on its head. They saw no dolphins and when they got to Hawaii the bright yellow paint on his boat was peeling. He stated that had never happened before in the 20yrs of fishing and sailing. Hmm I don’t believe in coinsidence.


  4. Irene C says:

    Something’s causing these creatures to wash up on shore. Could be the sign of an upcoming earthquake, release of methane gas somewhere off shore, or under water volcanic activity. Then again, what if it’s radioactive? Has anyone done an autopsy on these oarfish to see what the cause of death was?


  5. Margaret Skeel says:

    What about all the radiation pouring out of Fukishima? Could that be affecting deep water life? Is that what is killing the deep sea fish?


  6. George says:

    Its possible that the fish and wild life are dieing from radiation fallout from fuka shama japan hitting the deep water and the pacific coast of the americas . check infant death stat’s for the west coast of america , u will see a large jump in the death stat’s after fukashima accident . cali is being fried .


  7. Judith says:

    How about the radiation leak from Japan? Couldnt that cause them to die?


  8. Radiation might be the culprit, but the article also talks about Japanese lore on how the oarfish come to shore to warn of an earthquake. THAT is the main point of the article, is it not? After all, it suggests as much right there in the title.

    This may be coincidental, but think about it… if it’s happened enough times in the past to which a legend was created to account for it, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that there may be a grain of truth behind it?


  9. mel says:

    I, too, am thinking that radiation could be a cause of death, depending on the migration of the animal (which is unknown)… but out of the bluefin tuna that have tested ‘positive’ for radiation in california waters, all were living, and are KNOWN to have migration/ranges that take them directly into radiation-contaminated waters.

    BUT, Cali is not being fried with atmospheric radiation (see source link below):
    Most recent independent geiger reading from La Jolla, CA is 30 CPM (clicks per minute).

    20 CPM is about 0.06 μSv/hr on my meter (1 μSv/hr is 330 CPM on the SPER 840007).
    μSv: microSievert (a millionth of a Sievert). Normal background radiation is about 0.3 μSv/hr, or about 2,600 μSv per year. MicroSieverts are negligible.
    mSv: milliSievert (a thousandth of a Sievert). 1,000 μSv = 1 mSv. MilliSieverts are significant.
    Sv: Sievert. Four or five Sv is a lethal dose. Sieverts are deadly.

    Thus, if background radiation is 0.3 μSv/hr , the annual dose is 0.3 μSv/hr x 8,760 hours in a year = 2,600 μSv (microsievert, or 2,600 millionths of a sievert).

    A year’s NORMAL background radiation dose is about 2,600 μSv. It’s double that in Denver.
    A chest CT scan is about 10,000 μSv, and an abdominal CT scan is about 20,000 μSv, per scan. In other words, enjoying 40 years in La Jolla will get you as much radiation as one CT scan. La Jolla is perfectly safe – today.

    By comparison, the levels measured in Japan have peaked as high as 400,000 μSv/hr (400 mSv/hr). In 11 hours at 400 mSv/hr, you’ll get a 4,400 mSv dose, or enough to kill you.



  10. mel says:

    another interesting comparison from the same source: “In fact, the biggest source of radiation in La Jolla (california) is our granite counter tops. A reading near my kitchen countertops’ backsplash read 37 CPM, or double the readings taken outdoors.”


  11. Jason says:

    I wonder how many of those in the photo will now forever be radiative glowing nightlights? that poor innocent dog 😦


  12. Carl says:

    Is there any other deep-see creatures found dead? They found two dead fish and people is linking it to radiation pouring out of Fukishima. Were is the other miljons of dead fish, killed by radiaton? Think before you write!


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