EDITOR’S NOTE: In light of the earthquake today in Nepal and renewed interest in this phenomenon, we decided to move this old article to the front page temporarily. Thanks for reading.
The 188-day earthquake cycle theory has been circulating around the Internet, mainly on conspiracy forums and websites, for quite a while. While it’s tough to track down where this originated from, the supporters of the theory present a barrage of factual evidence to back this up. According to the 188 day cycle, a major earthquake was predicted to strike the Earth somewhere between March 21 and 23 of 2012. The reason for the range is because the days are not an accurate way of measuring these things. Our timekeeping system on Earth is accurate enough for most of our ordinary comings and goings, but it is not exactly in time with the Earth’s adventures as it revolves around the sun. Anyway, interest in the theory is picking up as a strong earthquake did indeed strike Mexico City today, March 20, 2012, seemingly close to the predicted date. Naturally, it sponsors some intrigue when a theory like this seems to work out to be correct right before our eyes, but it’s important to remember to check the facts. So, that’s what Common Sense Conspiracy did.
The first thing we wanted to do was to check out previous earthquakes that supposedly fit in line with the 188-day cycle and make sure that what supporters say is in accordance with actual seismological records. Those that advocate the cycle say that it matches up as far back as recorded history where earthquakes are concerned goes. Well, we don’t have time to check them out that far, but for now, let’s look back at the past four earthquakes that are listed as evidence of the cycle.
One website we visited that obviously touts the cycle theory as scientific fact listed the following earthquakes as proof:
Chile — February 27, 2010 — 8.8-magnitude
New Zealand — September 4, 2010 — 7.1-magnitude
Japan — March 11, 2011 — 9.1-magnitude
Fiji — September 15, 2011 — 7.2-magnitude
First of all, the dates all fall between 186 and 190 days apart. While the theory focuses on 188 days, there is some room for error there, and we don’t really see a problem with that. So the dates are fairly close to the range prescribed by the cycle. So far, so good. Now, we check the information against official records of earthquakes. According to the United States Geological Survey, all of the dates are correct, except for the New Zealand quake. The USGS lists it as occurring on September 3, which is only one day difference and would actually help the theory by making the time between Chile and New Zealand 189 days instead of 190. So, it appears the information for these four quakes is good, the counts between quakes is good, and it does seem to have some validity. However, if you take all the earthquakes in the 7.0-magnitude range that happen on the Earth across a year, you will find that they are much more frequent than every 188 days. Actually, statistically speaking, an earthquake of this variety generally happens every 25 days. If you took the complete list of earthquakes, there is little doubt that you could find other “significant” patterns if you only stuck to the ones that worked with your theory. Meaning, if you decide the cycle is 90 days, there is an excellent chance that if you take a list of earthquakes over the years, you will be able to find some instances where the prediction seems accurate. However, could the particular earthquakes that did happen approximately 188 days out be caused by some sort of scientific phenomenon? We looked further.
There is no scientific study that we could locate that details anything regarding the 188-day earthquake cycle theory. When we say none, we mean none. Zero. Like we said before, it is hard to determine who originally coined the theory, but there is a DVD available for sale at a website called Rabbit Hole called “188 Days” that apparently outlines the finer points of the theory. Naturally, Rabbit Hole is a conspiracy site whose catch phrase is “decoding the puzzle.”
So, when it’s all said and done, it is absolutely true that a significant earthquake event did happen around 188 days out on each of those four instances. As long as you disregard all of the other earthquakes, the theory holds true. But then, the Mexico City earthquake comes along right on time, making it five in a row. So what are the odds that if the theory was not based in fact that an earthquake would happen in the appropriate time period. Well, the earthquake cycle theory helps itself out by not being so precise. After all, we have already established from the previous data that anything from 186 to 190 days is considered acceptable proof by the proponents of the theory. So with four days margin of error being acceptable, and knowing that one of these earthquakes statistically should happen every 25 days anyway, there is a fairly good chance that an earthquake can come along sometime in the time window to keep the theory going. In this case, it did just that. The Mexico City earthquake will be claimed as fulfillment of the cycle theory, but it actually was a day early, if we want to get technical. Of course, if another major earthquake happens in the next two or three days, the theorists can then jump on that as the real 188-day earthquake and write the Mexico City one off as an unrelated incident.
So, as you can see, while the statistics seem to back up the theory, it’s fairly easy to find something that will.
Does this mean that there is no truth to the 188-day cycle theory? No, it means there is no proof of it. There is no scientific basis or information that backs this up except cherry-picking the statistical data. However, it has proven to be true for five cycles now, and that’s a pretty good track record. In the end, as almost always, the only thing that matters is what do you think?