YouTube: Often the source of rumor.
As if the drought wasn’t enough, a widely viewed YouTube video has predicted a 9.8 magnitude earthquake will strike California today.
But those of you reading this from the Golden State almost certainly need not worry. The source of the prediction seems unreliable at best.
The video, “Global Coastal Event on May 28, 2015,” was published to YouTube last month by Ditrianum, a Netherlands-based “non-profit organization initially founded to investigate through number analysis energies that surround us everywhere and to promote the science of number theory and numerology to a broader public,” according to its Web site.
Ditrianum’s founder: Frank Hoogerbeets. Under Hoogerbeets’s leadership, “Ditrianum has become more of a Light Portal for cosmic messages from various sources — Light Beings like the Archangels, the Arcturians and The Founders.”
That sounds great. But whence comes the scientific evidence for Hoogerbeets’s earthquake prediction — especially because some think precisely predicting earthquakes is sort of impossible?
Hoogerbeets says it’s all in the alignment of the planets.
“Towards the end of the 26th and on the 27th we may see the first signs of the powerful convergence of planetary alignments growing full on the 28th and 29th,” Hoogerbeets said in an update to his original video. “Everyone near fault lines and other seismically active areas, but especially around the Pacific Ocean should be on alert during the critical days ahead.”
Ditrianum also said watch out via Twitter.
“I advice [sic] people in critical areas along fault lines in the world to be on extra alert around May 28,” Ditrianum tweeted earlier this week. “Be prepared. Have an escape plan ready.”
Though he doesn’t have a science degree and talks about Nostradamus, Hoogerbeets said he warned about Nepal’s earthquake five days before it struck last month. That claim was borne out by an analysis of his Facebook page undertaken by Fox.
Despite this success, Hoogerbeets’s prediction was widely ridiculed.
“The idea that planetary alignments might cause earthquakes is bunk,” a representative at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told L.A. Weekly. “The gravitational forces involved are not of a magnitude great enough to trigger geologic activity on Earth.”
“There is simply no way an alignment of planets can cause an earthquake on Earth,” Phil Plait wrote at Slate. “It’s literally impossible. I’ve done the math on this before; the maximum combined gravity of all the planets under ideal conditions is still far less than the gravitational influence of the Moon on the Earth, and the Moon at very best has an extremely weak influence on earthquakes.”
Hoogerbeets, who was not immediately available for comment, appeared to be holding firm.
“I believe I know when exactly it is going to be,” Hoogerbeets told Fox40 on Wednesday. “I hope I am wrong.”
So do we.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misspelled some references to Ditrianum and misspelled the last name of Slate writer Phil Plait.