Theory on shaky ground

Alex Hambleton (left) and Kylie Green, of Bridges Cafe, held tight yesterday, just in case the earth’s axis did move five inches (12.7cm) as predicted.
Alex Hambleton (left) and Kylie Green, of Bridges Cafe, held tight yesterday, just in case the earth’s axis did move five inches (12.7cm) as predicted. Lee Constable

DID you feel the earth move under your feet yesterday?

According to, March 22, 2012 was the day their researchers predicted the Earth's axis would shift five inches - or 12.7cm.

The cause? Shifting aquifers around the globe, which in turn would result in a nine-plus magnitude earthquake event.

Another theory that's hot on everyone's lips is the world ending on December 21 at 11.11am, due to the end of the Mayan calendar.

But how many of us believe this and what scientific research is behind it as to why we should?

Seismologist Michael Turnbull, who is based at the CQUniversity Bundaberg campus, said it was impossible to predict an earthquake.

"We know that 99% of earthquakes occur on plate boundaries and there's thousands and thousands of plate boundaries; when about it will happen, we just can't tell," Mr Turnbull said.

"The earthquake that happened in Japan (and caused the tsunami in 2011); we knew there was a fair chance that it would happen in that area, but we had no idea when it was going to occur.

"In any one window of 120 years, in central Queensland there could be at least one magnitude six earthquake.... it doesn't mean that we'll get another one - the probability stays the same," he said.

So, in nine months time, will it be the end of the world as we know it?

"It's not going to happen," Mr Turnbull said.

"The only thing that finished was the writing down of the dates.

"I'm concerned that there are so many people around Australia, Queensland and the world that really believe this.

"There's no scientific foundation for it, it's a belief system.

"(People) have predicted the end of the world many times in the past and they have never come into fruition.

"My prediction is that when the sun goes out, we'll all go out and that won't happen for another four thousand million years."


Remember this?

Y2K: The year 2000 millennium bug that existed in computer software and computer hardware: Some computers only stored two decimal digits and there were fears the year 2000 would be confused with 1900, which would cause problems in the digital world... it didn't eventuate.

Topics:  earth end of the world

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