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THIRD Oarfish sighting in Sea of Cortez stokes earthquake fears

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/10/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unclear if fish is the same seen last month.

An oarfish has been found washed on an island beach in Mexico, leading to speculation if it is one of the two previously sighted and filmed last month, or if it is in fact a third specimen. If it is a third, it could fuel rumors of an earthquake since anecdotal evidence suggests the fish come to the surface and beach themselves in anticipation of such an event.

A tour guide lies beside a beached oarfish specimen on the Isla San Francisco in Mexico.

A tour guide lies beside a beached oarfish specimen on the Isla San Francisco in Mexico.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/10/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: oarfish, earthquakes, prediction, mexico, tourists, sea of cortez, film, live


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Visitors to the Isla San Francisco in the Sea of Cortez, northeast of Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, Mexico, have found the fifteen-foot carcass of an oarfish washed ashore on the island. The length matches the estimated length of at least one other oarfish sighted late last month near the beach. Observers who saw the fish beach itself say it resisted all attempts to return it to the water. It was eventually killed by birds which feasted on the carcass for a time.

That oarfish, as well as a second one, was filmed by a group of kayakers. The videos show two oarfish swimming towards shore and turning back, or being returned to the water by the kayakers. Oarfish are deep sea denizens so any that come to the surface near shore are in danger of being beached because they are unused to the powerful currents at the surface.

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The beached oarfish may very well be one of the two specimens filmed in March.

However, there is a possibility the specimen is a third oarfish. If so, it could lead to questions why three of the elusive fish have appeared. Normally the sighting of even one creates a sensation, and the viewing of a pair is quite rare.

Japanese legend says that oarfish appear at the surface and on beaches in anticipation of earthquakes, which may follow within weeks or months of their appearance. Although there does not appear any sound scientific basis for this legend, other than the natural human proclivity to perceive patterns, even where none exist, some still speculate on the possibility.

One leading hypothesis is that the deep sea fish, which can descend as far as 3,300 feet below the surface, are very sensitive to seismic disturbances. These disturbances, which could be the early signs of a pending earthquake, could disorient the fish, causing them to come to the surface where they are vulnerable to currents and waves. Oarfish are notoriously weak swimmers.

Although there remains no scientific evidence to support this idea, oarfish are so rare they have hardly been studied. The ocean depths are also poorly studied, so there could be more factors at work than we presently know.

A rarely sighted live oarfish in the Sea of Cortez. What does its presence here mean?

A rarely sighted live oarfish in the Sea of Cortez. What does its presence here mean?


In October 2013, two oarfish beached themselves in Southern California, just one week apart from one another. In March two moderate earthquakes shook the Los Angeles area, just six months following the sightings. Could an earthquake be coming to Mexico within the next six months?

We can only guess. However if one does occur in the months ahead, it will surely lend credence to the notion that oarfish are somehow harbingers of deep sea disasters and we might do well to pay attention to the animal messengers who occasionally reveal hints that mother nature is about to unleash her fury.

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