Scientists: 'Insomnia' ants can warn about earthquake

April 11, 2013. Sudden changes in the behavior of forest ants indicate that in a few hours will earthquake, German scientists found that three-year clock watched a few anthills.

"In the behavior of ants, for which we observed showed a steady change of phases of activity and tranquility. A few hours before the earthquake instead of sleep phase advancing surge of activity, and the following phase of the activity does not occur during the day, "- said Gabriela Berbera (Gabriele Berberich) from the University of Duisburg (Germany), who presented the first results of the experiment at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.

She and her colleagues found infrared and conventional cameras next to two small anthills wood ants (Formica polyctena) in a seismically active region of Neuwied in western Germany. In this area there is up to 100 small earthquakes — a magnitude of up to 3.9. Scientists have recorded more than 45,000 hours of video behavior of ants. The scientists also recorded the parameters of the environment — such as humidity and pressure. It was found that the ants live on a clear timetable, but a few hours before the earthquake that schedule "broke."

"They have vanished phase of calm" — said Berbera. According to her, the ants felt the approach of an earthquake if its magnitude was higher 2. "We believe that the ants respond to the release of toxic gases from the bowels, which causes the change of the regime," — she said.

Source: RIA Novosti


Ants help seismologists to predict earthquakes

April 12, 2013. German researchers have found that the European red ants are able to feel the approach of earthquakes. In the future, it may be useful to predict natural disasters.

"The pressure changes the structure of the gas, and the ants will feel it because it is very sensitive to such changes," — say the scientists.

"Life is like an ant on a human, because they are awake during the day and rest at night" — explained Prof. Gabriele Berbera from the German University Deynsburg-Essen.

However, the survey showed that before the earthquake ants drastically change their habits and do not resume daily activities after a night's rest, according to the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.

For the study, which was conducted about four years old, was shot more than 45 thousand hours of footage in order to study in detail behavior these insects. "Before the earthquake, we noticed that the entire colony, with the exception of the Queen, at the top of the anthill. This is quite unusual because basically they all live inside to keep out predators, "- said Gabriele Berbera.

The study was conducted in a seismically active zone of Germany. Scientists have found that a major change in the behavior of insects occur only when the magnitude of aftershocks above two points on the Richter scale. Moreover, German scientists and other analyzed parameters such as change the behavior of insects in the nest before the earthquake to determine if it is on the habits of ants.

"Observing the behavior of these ants — this is a step forward in the study of tectonic processes and forecasting of natural disasters — says the researcher. — We marked the beginning of future projects to determine the details that makes the ants behave. "

Source: RT

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