Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moon Man: or portent of doom

Auckland based Ken Ring, the Moon Man,  uses astrology - the moon, tidal movements and the sun - to predict weather patterns.  More than 5,000 farmers and other weather watchers around New Zealand subscribe to his site Predict Weather.  They swear by him.

He also predicts earthquakes.  He has been sometimes lauded but mainly vilified  for claiming to have predicted the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch 22 February.

On his website he posted a warning in February that conditions were 'potent' for a significant earthquake in Christchurch during 15-25 February.  He also tweeted on Valentine's Day that Christchurch would be especially vulnerable on the 18th - give or take three days.

Of course we now know that on February 22nd at 12.51pm a newly identified fault-line ruptured under the Port Hills at a depth less than 10 kilometres, and less than 10ks away from Christchurch city.

A confluence of factors dictate an earthquake experience - magnitude is but one of them.  At various times during the 30 second quake, peak ground acceleration levels were recorded of more than 2G - or twice gravity - levels four times more than those experienced during Japan's enormous magnitude 9 earthquake this month.  Cantabrians are now beginning to understand that ground acceleration and soil resonance - whether a building is moving/shaking at the same frequency as the ground below - are critical components of whether your city stands or falls. Combine that with our soil type - basically the city is built on old river beds and swamps -  and you get the trampolining effect, whereby the ground layers effectively split and crash (vertically) into each other.  Liquefaction is one of the results - and  toppled buildings, and cracked pipes and roads and other infrastructure, too.

I am not convinced there's a point to my quake rambling here, but that's what I do. I read and research, and find the recitation of facts, albeit inexpertly recounted, calming.

I'm struggling to bring the same process to the vexed issue of Ken Ring's predictions of yet more earthquake activity in and around Christchurch on 20 March and 18 April.  Here's what he has to say about 20 March, or, tomorrow.
... the morning of 20 March 2011 sees the South island again in a big earthquake risk for all the same reasons. This date is the closest fly-past the moon does in all of 2011. The node arrives on the 20th at 9.44am. As that date coincides with lunar equinox this will probably be an east/west faultline event this time, and therefore should be more confined to a narrower band of latitude. The only east/west fault lines in NZ are in Marlborough and N Canterbury. All factors should come together for a moon-shot straight through the centre of the earth and targeting NZ. The time will be just before noon. It could be another for the history books.

He has advised us to stock up on basics and help others do the same.  He has also said that if he lived in Christchurch, well, he'd be staying close to a strong safe structure or getting out altogether.

Many quake weary Cantabrians have done just that, with thousands taking advantage of the public memorial on Friday to make a long weekend of it - anywhere but here.  Small towns and holiday attractions within 200 kilometres are booming.

The vast majority of broadcast and social media comments suggest Ken Ring is a crackpot and worse, a scare-monger preying on a devastated community, shamelessly self-promoting.

I think he truly believes his theories are valid and genuinely wants to warn people for the common good.  As to the validity of his theories, I don't want to dismiss them out of hand because I do not know enough to critically evaluate his system. Besides, history is punctuated by societies that have practically lynched proponents of alternative ideologies.  But I am tending towards the sceptical.  (How else will I sleep?)

Suffice it to say, with a 'bob-each-way', I am staying in Christchurch, but have not re-hung mirrors, paintings or generally righted what's left of our ornaments, photos and other bits that could fall and smash.  I have also ensured our water containers are full to overflowing and there's enough chocolate stored to last three days.

The Moon Man, Ken Ring
Photo: www.stuff.co.nz

1 comment:

Tattie Weasle said...

Since ther were no reports I can safely assume that Ken was not accurate this tiem, it is difficukt when trying to make head and tail of what has happened that "crack-pots" are given credence when otherwise they would have been dismissed. No one does not always know and I think reading researching and writing it all down does help and it is calming. Kepp doing it sometimes us humbler folk do hit upon something that is important!