Jim Berkland still predicting earthquakes

The geologist’s warning that a strong earthquake would strike the Bay Area during the 1989 World Series was published in the Gilroy Dispatch.

What was the response to your warning after the Loma Prieta earthquake struck? The authorities wanted my head and I was suspended for 2½ months. I’d been predicting quakes since 1974 … and I’d never had that kind of response.

How regularly do you publish earthquake predictions? When I found out I could predict them in 1974, it was quite rewarding intellectually, so I started issuing annual predictions. In the ’80s, I started making predictions every month.

Animals give you clues to pending quakes. What animal signs tipped you off in 1989? There were 27 ads for missing cats and 58 missing dog ads — these were unprecedented numbers. Baby beaked whales had beached themselves in San Francisco, a very rare pygmy sperm whale washed up in Santa Cruz and homing pigeons were getting lost.

You also rely on the moon for predictions. When are quakes most likely? Once a month when the moon is at its closest point, and twice a month when it’s lined up with the sun and the Earth.

Are we in a danger period right now? October tends to be one of the most active months for earthquakes in the Bay Area. March, April and October are associated with the equinox and they are the big months for earthquakes.

— John Upton

For The Examiner's complete Loma Prieta anniversary coverage, go to http://www.sfexaminer.com/loma-prieta/

3-Minute InterviewBay Area NewsJim Berklandpredicting

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Many famillies have supported keeping John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park free of car traffic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over future of JFK Drive heats up

Shamann Walton compares accessibilty issues to segregation, likens street closure to ‘1950s South’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, pictured in March, is unveiling a series of budget proposals this week. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom’s school plan has billions for college savings accounts, after school programs and more

Hannah Wiley The Sacramento Bee California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to send… Continue reading

Tara Hobson, center, principal at SF International High School, welcomes a student back on Monday, April 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD seniors get a chance to say goodbye to school in person

Deal to briefly return older students to school leaves many parents and teens dissatisfied

Filmmaker Will J. Zang’s four-minute hybrid documentary “The Leaf” is part of CAAMFest’s Out/Here Shorts program focusing on LGBTQ+ stories. (Courtesy Will J. Zang)
Gay Chinese filmmaker Will Zang has a dilemma in ‘The Leaf’

CAAMFest screenings reflect diverse Asian and Asian-American experiences

Most Read