Scientists slam 'Moonman' earthquake predictor

New Zealand scientists have rounded on a quasi-mystic mathematician known as the "Moonman" who claims he predicted the devastating Christchurch earthquake by studying the moon.

Ken Ring, the author of books linking the moon with , says he accurately forecast the February 22 tremor, which left about 240 people feared dead, in a Valentine's Day tweet.

"Potential earthquake time for the planet between 15th-25th, especially 18th for Christchurch, +/- about 3 days," Ring tweeted on February 14. "Short... and sharp."

Now traumatised residents are fearful after another Ring prediction: that Christchurch -- hit by two major quakes in the past six months, along with thousands of aftershocks -- will suffer another big tremor in the coming days.

"I'm hoping he's wrong, but we're going down to our holiday house for the week just in case," said schoolteacher Kirsty Carruthers. "It'll help take our minds off things, and it can't hurt to get away."

Ring maintains the risk of another quake is high because the moon is now unusually close to the Earth, exerting a strong .

But scientists have scoffed at Ring's claims, with Canterbury University tectonics expert Mark Quigley calling them "ludicrous".

"No one has predicted the recent earthquakes in Canterbury," Quigley said.

"Vague quotes about dates of 'increased' activity plus or minus several days, without magnitudes, locations, and exact times do not constitute prediction.

"(This) is opportunistic and meaningless self-promotion during a time of national crisis."

Matt Gerstenberger, of New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, said: "The correlation is low enough so that a prediction based on (the ) would be correct only a small proportion of the time, and would be wrong much more often than it is correct."

Systematics expert David Winter ran a statistical analysis of against Ring's total predictions, and said there was little to suggest he was credible.

"Once you see how implausible his methods are you realise you'd need incredible evidence to believe his predictions," he said.

"And once you see his run of false positives you realise that his 'prediction' of last week's doesn't meet that standard."

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Mar 03, 2011
"Vague quotes about dates of 'increased' activity plus or minus several days, without magnitudes, locations, and exact times do not constitute prediction.

Actually, that's exactly how "prediction" works in other branches of science, such as meteorology.

Dr. Greg Forbes' "Tor Con" index works EXACTLY the same way: He uses 10% increments for a fifty mile radius, so a Tor Con index of 5 would be a 50% chance that a tornado would happen within a 24 hour period within 50 miles of given location.

Hurricane models work the same general way, and almost always UNDER estimate the maximum intensity the storm will achieve, but they work the same way. The NHS' cone means there is a 60% chance (I think) of the storm being inside that cone near the target location. The NHS has a very good record, but if you pay close enough attention, their predictions are sometimes off by a day or more, and a category or two, even for a hurricane which you can SEE coming ahead of time.

Mar 03, 2011
In fact, the NHS even does the same thing when predicting whether or not a "wave" will develop into a "depression" or "tropical storm".

They assign a colored, shaded circle to the region, and state, "There is an X% chance (usually forecasts are given in 10% increments) of tropical development in the shaded region within the next 48 hours." The "region" is often a 10 degree wide colored blob on a map.

So the point is the predictions are no less "scientific" than meteorology, at least you certainly cannot criticise him for giving a range in time and location, seeing as how the NHS, TWC, and NWS do the exact same things with tornados and hurricanes, as well as other bad weather.

Mar 03, 2011
Matt Gerstenberger, of New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, said: "The correlation is low enough so that a prediction based on (the moon) would be correct only a small proportion of the time, and would be wrong much more often than it is correct."

The fact that there is any correlation at all validates the practice of stating that there is an "increased risk within such and such a time".

Sort of like if you are at zero shear there is an increased risk of a hurricane forming and/or intensifying, and if you are at diurnal maximum, there is an further increased risk of a storm forming or intensifying.

Noticing a correlation, even if it's only a slight correlation, is obviously useful for establishing relative risk. To claim otherwise is completely ridiculous.

One day outside of the range is no worse than the NHS last year on predicting the timing of hurricane Earl, which was often completely outside the previous day's cone.

Mar 03, 2011
Qc, there is NO COMPARISON between this duck soup and meteorology - this quack is CRANKING PEOPLE TO MAKE MONEY and is a fuck head of the largest order. Have a look at his site and see how many predictions he has got hopelessly wrong - this guy got one right by weight of numbers. Meteoroligists accurately predict 48 hr weather patterns on a regular basis. This guy does the exact opposite with moon quakes for fuck sake. Grow up you fucking retard.

Mar 03, 2011
Meteoroligists accurately predict 48 hr weather patterns on a regular basis.

You fail to realize, they have ground based radars every 50 miles, thermometers, barometers, wind anomometers, and humidity, etc, orbitting 3-d radars which pass every place on earth at least once per 24 hours, and conventional weather satellites in 4 spectra: visible, microwave, shortwave, and longwave infrared viewing the entire earth to a half kilometer resolution, and you can see clouds coming ahead of time. So the meteoroligist have a RIDICULOUS government funded data collection and processing advantage in their field as compared to earthquake prediction.

Even with all of that technology I just mentioned, we once had a tornado pass right over the house (not yet on the ground,) and apparantly touch down in the trees in the back, leveling several trees and shrubs, and the ocra crop as well. At the same time, the weather channel was reporting "fair skies" for the viewing area.

Mar 03, 2011
So give somebody a break. He does this on his spare time with his own funds and resources.

your vaunted meteorologists have several billion dollars per year funding and super computers and networks of thousands of observation points with millions, even billions of data points per minute, particularly with Radar and satellites.

Most of modern meteorology is not even "prediction" per se. I mean, anyone can look at a radar or satellite and make a good guestimate of when and where a storm will be based on where it is now, how fast it's moving, and what the steering seems to be.

It's like looking at a car on the interstate. If it's moving 70mph, it doesn't take a rocket scientists to say, "Gee, I bet it's going to be about 70 miles down the road an hour from now!"

Meteorology is so accurate because they know almost all of the variables to within margin of error of the instruments, and can see stuff happening live in real time, across the world, on satellite and radar.

Mar 03, 2011
No meteorology is so accurate because it combines good science with good techniques and good equipment. This guy does not, he cranks people for money and is on a par with astrologers who do the same. Your connecting the legitimate scientific profession of meteorology and this moon quaker is ludicrous in the extreme and you should know better; in fact I expect you to retract that claim.

Mar 03, 2011
@QC I "appreciate" your comments about this guy and his predictions and how they are basically done with the same manner of "prediction" as is meteorology. Makes sense and you are correct.
@BM Dude.. he's right, give the guy a break. However, you are also correct in stating the fact that this guy's website is chock full of misinterpretations and false predictions. One prediction that comes relatively close to coming true (ChristsChurch) does not make him a "genius". The guy is a quack for all intents and purposes.

The point I would like to make is that I think it is funny how people are so quick to judge or so quick to dismiss people simply because they may have another motive or reason for saying something. This guy is just as accurate (for this prediction only) as are weather reporters and everyone who is criticizing him state that he is incorrect and a fool. He might be, but don't knock his methods simply because you do not agree. Everyone has an opportunity to try.

Mar 03, 2011
I have to agree with Quantum_Conundrum in large part.
What I know is that the Moon exerts a gravitational pull on the Earth, thus the ocean tides. A full Moon exerts a stronger gravitational pull, Thus the very high tides that often cause floods in low lying coastal locations. What is generally not known that a full moon also rises or pulls the earths crust by as much as 4ft, it is in effect a land mass tidal wave (bulge) that literally moves around the World as the Earth rotates. It is this movement of the Earth's crust that amplifies any cracks or weakness in the Plate tectonics where one plate is jammed and attempting to dive under the apposing plate, the moons gravitational pull can often be the pull that allows this to happen (the straw that breaks the Camels back effect. I believe that nobody can predict an exact location but certainly within a certain geographic location in combination with the historic earthquake history of every so many 100 yr's or so.

Mar 04, 2011
"A full Moon exerts a stronger gravitational pull.."
Actually the gravitation pull of the moon is not related to its phase. See
for an explanation of apogee and perigee which do affect the gravitational pull of the moon.

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