After successfully predicting that an earthquake would hit somewhere in the Pacific Northwest in the past month, Jim Berkland is again forecasting another quake in the coming weeks.
The retired geologist, whose quake-predicting techniques have been dismissed by mainstream geologists, predicts a 3.5-6.5 magnitude shaker will hit within a 140-mile radius of East Bay peak Mount Diablo.
"April 17 to 25 is the window," he said, citing the moon’s close proximity, this month’s maximum tidal force and animal and human behavior.
Citing similar factors last month, Berkland predicted a 3.5-6.5 magnitude temblor between March 19 and 26. And according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 4.4 magnitude quake hit off the Oregon coast on March 25.
"They have never accepted what I’ve been doing," Berkland said. "I’ve predicted hundreds of them, right under their noses."
USGS spokeswoman Leslie Gordon attributes Berkland’s predicting success to the wide window of magnitude and time he places on his predictions.
"We haven’t seen him predict a specific date, time, place and magnitude ... something we would consider a prediction," Gordon said.
"He puts this big window, and says ‘somewhere in California,’" she added. "It’s kind of like, ‘Of course, we have earthquakes like that in California.’"
Though Berkland said he doesn’t have all his local quake-predicting factors, he cites an 85 percent chance based on next week’s Golden Gate tides reaching 8 feet instead of 4, next week’s full moon and human behavior.
"There are many, many factors," he said. "Some people are earthquake sensitive."
Berkland said about 21 people whose health he follows reported having severe headaches three days before a quake, with pressure and pain subsiding from their foreheads moments before the tremor strikes.
"You can’t believe everything you read out of a book or hear out of a professor’s mouth," said Berkland, a former professor himself. "You have to pay attention to what nature shows you and tells you."
The former USGS geologist has felt dozens of quakes since his mid-20s, but none more frightening than his tremor-predicting claim to fame.
"The only quake that scared me was the World Series quake in 1989," he said.