Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A quick look at Ken Ring's predictions for New Zealand's 20 largest recorded earthquakes

Mr Ken Ring says that severe, damaging earthquakes are more likely when the moon is full or new and when it is at perigee (closest to the Earth in its elliptical orbit). A quick look at New Zealand's 20 largest recorded earthquakes shows that Ken would have missed most of them. Assume "at perigee" means "closer to perigee than 30% between perigree and apogee at the time of the earthquake", and allow "full" or "new" to mean "within 30 degrees of a full or new moon respectively", then only two earthquakes out of 20 satisfy these conditions: The 2nd equal (with 3 others) highest magnitude earthquake of February 3rd, 1931 in Napier, and the 19th largest of March 2nd, 1987 in Edgecumbe.

Other interpretations of Mr Ring's conditions might be to require a close, recent perigee (say 20% of the way between minimum and maximum perigee, or approximately a 20% likelihood) or alternatively less than 5 days between the earthquake and a perigee (i.e.: roughly 9 days/month). Combine these with "within 60 degrees of a full or new moon" to reflect Ken Ring's broad statements about days from full or new moons (i.e. 2/3rds of the time), and we get 5/20 correct predictions in each case.

On a statistical note, these results are not significantly different from a random occurrence with respect to the conditions imposed, i.e.: there is not a significant correlation between times of occurrence of these earthquakes and my numerical interpretations of Mr Ring's stated prediction method.

Enough said.

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