Growing up to 56 feet in length, the Oarfish is a silent giant of the deep. In October 2013, two of these massive creatures washed ashore on the Southern California coast within a 5 days period. Some believe that if history is to repeat itself, it might just be a sign of impending natural disaster.
Japanese lore states that an Oarfish will beach itself when an earthquake is imminent. We might dismiss it as pure legend, if not for the damning evidence in support of it. In the year leading up to the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the country saw a staggering 20 Oarfish wash ashore on beaches surrounding the area of the quake. A shockingly high number for Japan, a country that typically only sees one or zero beached Oarfish per year.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of animals having keen senses toward impending quakes. Elephants have long known to migrate toward higher ground before an earthquake, and canines have even proven to have a sixth sense of their own. In this clip, a dog bolts for safety out of pure instinct, seconds before a 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes. Closer inspection reveals the dog feels the faintest of floor vibrations a full 15 seconds before the quake.
Is seismic activity deep in the underbelly of the Pacific forcing Oarfish ashore? If so, does it signal the imminence of large scale earthquake in Southern California? Only time holds the answers. And with continued research between seismologists and oceanographers, we may someday know why these mysterious creatures are now beaching themselves in droves.