May 11, 2011

Did giant oarfish warn of the coming Great East Japan Earthquake?

A giant oarfish found somewhere on a beach in Japan. Photo source:

In March of 2010, British newspaper The Telegraph published this article that speculated about an oncoming powerful earthquake there after dozens of giant oarfish have been found washed ashore on beaches in Japan and some caught in fishermen’s nets.

What makes this interesting is that the monstrous oarfish — traditionally seen as the harbinger of a powerful earthquake — usually live in the depths of 1 kilometer (more than 3000 ft) and are very rarely found above 200 meters from the surface. To make them even scarier, the oarfish can grow up to 17 meters (56 ft) in length.

According to traditional Japanese lore, these fish swim to the surface and beach themselves to warn of a coming earthquake. There are also scientific theories that animals are more sensitive to movements beneath the surface than humans. Some scientists believe that deep sea fish may be susceptible to movements in seismic faults and act in unusual ways before an earthquake occurs. However, most seismologists don’t see any scientific relationship between these sightings of oarfish and an earthquake.

But still, is it possible that the fish knew what was cooking under the surface? In ancient times when we didn’t have all the high-tech yet, Japanese believed that some fish, particularly catfish, warned of coming earthquakes

12 responses to “Did giant oarfish warn of the coming Great East Japan Earthquake?”

  1. Observer says:

    I thought the same thing at first, but upon closer examination the article is from March 4, 2010, not 2011.

  2. admin says:

    Observer: thanks for noticing!

  3. […] 09/21/2011 ICA Leave a comment Go to comments There have been reports in the past of large oarfish and even whales beaching themselves just day before a large earthquake.  Could squid now be doing […]

  4. Ilikepie12 says:

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  5. Guest says:

    It looks so pretty o3o.

  6. Laura Breidenbach says:

    Well. It just happened again scientists. Friday in Oceanside, Ca and on Catalina
    island 2 giant oarfish beached themselves then 6.5 earthquake hit the gulf of
    California saturday

    • J9 says:

      What I just noticed as well is that the oarfish in the Japanese earthquake beached themselves on the other side of the island, just as the oarfish did on the other side of the Baja/California peninsula.

    • RL says:

      6.5 is not significant. Something like 10.5 as we have something special happening. I am expecting a 10.5 sometime this year…….. it is very interesting we have these creatures of the deep loosing it for some reason. But we also have huge fish die offs each week now. (radiation anyone?)

      • Pdog says:

        How did you come up with 10.5? That size is unheard of.

      • Alexandra Leh says:

        6.5 *is* significant. the northridge quake in january 1994 was a 6.7…those of us who lived through that one thought it was exceptionally significant. seismologists have said that a 10.5 would decimate los angeles. so please try not to freak people out with your inaccurate intuition.

      • Laura Breidenbach says:

        The oarfish are pre-affected in the ocean. This is an ocean earthquake as opposed to a land earthquake.

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