Our earth is in a state of constant flux, of spiralling winds, surging sea waves, and gyrations around the fireball called the Sun. Miles below the surface of the planet, the tectonic plates binding it together are rubbing up against each other, building incredible force until one massive grind results in an earthquake. Earthquakes, like volcanic explosions, are the result of a gradual intensification extending back thousands or perhaps even millions of years. In comparison, a human life is but the blink of an eye – and tragically, sometimes lost in one. When we look at wonders like the Himalayan or Andean mountain range, we are witnessing the result of such opposing forces. The mega-thrust of power generated by the recent Sumatran Pacific Rim quake was the equivalent of the US energy consumption over an entire month.
A Ripple on the Pond
In looking for an astrological signature for earthquakes, cyclones or volcanic eruptions, the positions of the planets should be constantly noted, as well as sunspot activity, along with any phenomena that seems to connect the solar system to geophysical disturbances. The ancient Chinese used a large water vessel. Along the circumference were eight dragon heads, each holding a floating ball in its mouth. When vibrations caused the water to ripple enough to drop one of the balls, an earthquake was on its way. That was the case on January 23, 1556, when the city of Shanxi was destroyed, and 800,000 perished. It is the greatest recorded loss of life in one natural disaster. The Japanese, living in the most earthquake prone country, keep goldfish for the same reason.
In the absence of a seismograph, the water bowl was effective simply because earthquakes are usually preceded by vibration prior to the major quake. During the greatest recently recorded Chilean earthquake of May 22, 1960, (UT 19.11) it is said the whole earth resonated like a giant gong to the long-wave oscillations. The recent undersea quake that devastated the coastlines of Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka as well as large sections of India, also travelled far as Africa. It resonated at 9.1 on the Richter scale, and took place a year to the date (December 26) that the ancient city of Bam in Iran was destroyed. It was less than two days after a giant undersea tremor (8.1 on the scale) shook the ocean floor between Australia and New Zealand. Both quakes occurred at either end of the Australian plate, and geophysicists have considered that the two may be directly related.
The Indonesian Connection
The time of the Indonesian quake was (GMT) 00.58.50, about an hour after sunrise, local time, on December 26. 2004. The location, just off the west coast of the Indonesian island Sumatra was at 3N18, 95W47. The enormous force of the Indian and Australian plates created tsunamis up to 35 feet high, travelling undersea at up to hundreds of miles per hour. Seaside towns were devastated. The total loss of life from the waves alone is now estimated to be around 150,000, across many nations. The Sunda Strait, where the earthquake occurred, is known as one of the most volatile and active areas for natural disaster. In a mere two centuries, it has supplied three of the planet’s largest natural catastrophes.
“Accurately forecasting earthquakes still remains in the realm of the Holy Grail for astrologers and scientists alike. But is it closer to our grasp than we imagine?”
Tambora is a large stratovolcano, lying some 300 kilometers behind the Sunda Trench. Mt. Tambora began rumbling on April 5, 1815 and continued for a week. On April 11, 1815, after six months of steaming and six days of discharge, Tambora literally blew its top. It was the largest eruption in recorded history. Ninety two thousand lives were directly lost, but many more thousands perished from famine and disease. Volcanic ash littered the stratosphere, denying the sunlight from the earth’s surface. It effectively lowered global temperatures by up to 3 degrees Celsius. In North America and parts of Europe, the following year was known as the ‘year without a summer’. An eyewitness describing the major eruption wrote that, “the whole mountain… appeared like a body of liquid fire, extending itself in every direction. The fire and columns of flame continued to rage with unabated fury, until the darkness caused by the quantity of falling matter obscured it”.
Then there followed Krakatoa. It was a volcanic island also lying in the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra. On the night of August 26, enormous explosions decimated the island, producing the loudest noise in recorded history. This ‘big bang’ was heard thousands of miles away, like a thousand Hiroshima bombs. This came from a submarine earthquake that produced waves of up to 120 feet and travelled halfway around the world. At over 100 feet, it crashed into Java and Sumatra, killing thirty-six thousand people. In 1927, the volcano produced a new island on the same spot, known as ‘son of Krakatoa’. It rose to sea level in 1928 and has now attained a height of 200 meters. (Editor’s Note: The largest of four explosions which destroyed most of the island was on August 27 1883 at 10:02 AM, LMT at the co-ordinates of 16S07 and 105E40. Source: “The Day the Earth Exploded-August 27 1883”, Simon Winchester.)
The Moon and the Tides
Even with today’s sophisticated technology producing earth models and recording the minutest of signals, there are many theories. One is the tidal theory. The combined celestial mechanics of the Earth, Moon, and Sun relationship causes a bulge in the circumference of the equator and produces high tides at New and Full Moon. This may also affect the earth’s crust. The Earth tries to haul the tidal heights around in its daily rotation, and the Moon tries to impede it. The result is that the tidal bulge precedes the Moon.
“Earthquakes occur along designated fault lines. They are at least as much terrestrial as celestial.”
The Indonesian earthquake preceded a Full Moon. Eyewitnesses were initially fascinated by the sea going back, and back, and back – until, of course, it returned, as a wall of water engulfing them. The 1964 Alaskan quake of March 28, 1964 – the second biggest of the last century – also occurred right on a Full Moon. But the Moon theory alone is not the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back – and neither are sunspots. Earthquakes occur along designated fault lines. They are at least as much terrestrial as celestial.
Another theory revolves around the centrifugal force of the earth’s rotation, possibly related to its equatorial bulge. The earth is 43 kilometres wider at the equator than at the poles. Planets like Saturn and Jupiter have an even larger bulge, making them an oblate spheroid, rather than a perfect sphere. Because of this, a planet’s gravitational force is weaker at its equator. One result of this phenomenon is that pendulum clocks sent to French Guiana run slightly slower than their Parisian counterparts.
As recently as 1998, NASA tracking satellites revealed that the equatorial bulge was increasing. This was reasoned on rising ocean levels. Controversial geologist William Hutton, a proponent of the continental drift and shifting of the poles theory, believes that due to an imbalance at one of the poles, the earth’s crust becomes subject to greater strain resulting initially in an increase of earthquake activity along the known fault lines. He agrees with the psychic Edgar Cayce, who relayed the message that ‘upheavals in the artic and Antarctic areas will make for the eruption of volcanoes in the torrid area, and there will be a shifting of the poles’.
This theory is at the basis of many of the ‘doom and disaster’ themes, such as tidal waves over the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. (Of course, if one would buy that, they would probably buy the bridge as well). The ‘Millennium Apocalypse’ may have to wait another thousand years, but some scholars in Britain and the US are stating the same, quite seriously, for the island of La Palma in the Canaries. It’s a volcanic island that, in time, must inevitably erupt and crash into the sea, creating tsunamis of the like the earth has not hosted for thousands of years. If it were to erupt at once, there would be a wall of water hundreds of feet high heading toward the US East Coast. Scientists are certain that it will – but at what time over the next few thousand years? With all our technology, that remains the corker.
What of the planets?
I initially examined the top eleven quakes by magnitude, over the past hundred years, as recognised by the US Govt. Added to that were Krakatoa, Tambora and the world’s deadliest quake in China, back in 1556. Here were fourteen examples. Even if Krakatoa and Tambora may not strictly qualify as earthquakes, they certainly are massive geological cataclysms. Each year, the earth hosts twenty major earthquakes of above seven, (on the Richter scale) and one or two great quakes above eight. This logarithmic scale increases exponentially by tenfold with each ascending number. The examples we’ll be looking at are all above 8.5. That’s double the size of an 8, for starters.
For the giant eruption that was Krakatoa, all of the planets were in one half of the zodiac – in fact, contained within 126 degrees, which is effectively closer to a third. Tambora had all the planets in one half of the zodiac, with the exception of Jupiter. The Chinese quake of 1556 also contained eight planets in one half. Looking to more recent events, the same was also evident for the Rat Island’s 8.7 earthquake of February 4, 1962, when seven planets were positioned in the sign of Aquarius. Of course, the inner planets, Mercury and Venus, can never be too far away from the Sun. But even so, this was becoming an interesting pattern.
The 8.8 Ecuador earthquake, of Jan 31 1906, again had all the planets within one half of the zodiac’s circle. The Kamchatka quake of February 3, 1923, held seven planets within 180 degrees. The Banda Sea quake of Indonesia of Feb 1 1938 at 8.5, held four planets in Aquarius, including a New Moon, and seven tightly-banded, all within seventy degrees of the circle. The Assam Earthquake in Tibet, at 8.6
on August 15 1950, positioned all but Jupiter within a third of the zodiac. The Kuril Islands 8.5 quake of October 13 1963 also had seven of the planets within a quarter of the zodiacal circle.
The current Sumatran quake, 9.1 on December 26 2004, shows eight planets on one side of the zodiac, with only the Full Moon and Saturn opposing. So with ten of the fourteen examined, it was looking good to say that if there is a major imbalance of planets in one half of the zodiac, such a bias may precipitate or coincide with major natural disasters.
Not included was Tang-shan China, the most murderous fracture of the last century with over a quarter million fatalities, but only 7.5 on the scale. It certainly matched the pattern, though. So did the famous Mississippi quakes of December 16, 1811. They reverberated across the continent, changed the course of that mighty river, and, at an estimated 8.6, 8.4, and 8.8, were the largest series of earthquakes known in North America.
There were notable exceptions, when I examined the biggest of the last century. The 9.5 Chilean firecracker, of May 22, 1960, literally splattered the planets across my computer screen. The two major earthquakes at Prince William Sound – (3/28/1964) at 9.2 and Kamchatka, Alaska – (11/4/1952), was at 9.0, and the planets were spread. So, I might still be missing some of the ‘great quakes.’ Looking for a weighting, although useful, wasn’t going to pinpoint the vital date of an earthquake.
My next port of call was investigating declination, which simply describes whether a planet or point is north or south of the equator. This returned a positive result. In twelve of the fourteen samples, the Moon was north of the equator at the time of a major upheaval. Conversely, Saturn was south of it, ten out of fourteen times. The control groups in these samples are small, and beg further research. But celestial clusters still seemed to coincide with terrestrial ‘busters.’
The most promising discovery was following recurring earthquakes, and looking for correlations. For example, the recent Indonesian earthquake horoscope, when compared with Krakatoa, reveals some startling relationships. The current position of Uranus (planet of sudden shock) is exactly opposite the Krakatoa Sun. The fact that Uranus was also mundanely squaring Mars, and that the Krakatoa Sun was originally squaring Pluto, unites the two horoscopes in a Grand Cross combination of Sun/Mars/Uranus and Pluto(see . That’s about as explosive a fusion as you can get. Even the Moons of the two charts are joined together. Plus the Sun position in the recent earthquake is opposite the Mars of Krakatoa.
Equally remarkable was when I put up the great Chinese earthquake of 1556 alongside these two charts. That quake occurred with a Mars/Pluto exact conjunction in partile square to Jupiter. The current Mars/Uranus square, active in the Indonesian earthquake, overlays this precisely. All three charts can be superimposed upon each other to exhibit this Grand Cross formation.
Two perfect examples were the Kamchatka quakes, as they happened in the same area. Both were in the top ten recent quakes on the Richter scale. One occurred on February 3, 1923, the other on November 4, 1952. The second earthquake occurred on the Saturn return of the first – within the degree. But Saturn returned conjunct Neptune and T- squaring Mars and Uranus. There was also a Jupiter opposition to itself, and the transiting Sun was only five days away from highlighting this opposition. Therefore it may have been possible to time this quake to within a week. This whole method is using an initial earthquake chart in the manner of a celestial fault line, and keeping tabs on significant future transits.
Accurately forecasting earthquakes still remains in the realm of the Holy Grail for astrologers and scientists alike. But is it closer to our grasp than we imagine?
Of further interest
There has been considerable astrological research on earthquakes with large sample groups, but many of the results have been statistically challenged. One of the more interesting research projects was investigated by Tomaschek. He gave Uranus an orb of 15 degrees, and found that it was either with or opposing the Midheaven on 39 out of 134 cases, with an exceedingly high improbability factor. This work was afterwards challenged by statistical researcher Michael Gauqelin. The later research of Mathers on 900 earthquakes failed to replicate Tomaschek’s findings, although he came to the conclusion that earthquakes were 50% more probable when Venus is within 10 degrees of the Sun.
Researcher Brian Johnstone did extensive research on earthquake activity and planetary aspects. In Johnstone’s work he found that the planets were constantly weighted toward an applying aspect, rather than a departing one. He claimed this gave correlation to the fact that planetary positioning affects geophysical activity.
Ed Tamplin has had a life-long interest in astrology. He is the co-principal of the Sirius School of Astrology and a practicing professional since 1990. Progressing from a professional media background, since 1999 he has co-hosted Sydney, Australia’s top rating Saturday night radio program, featuring live astrological counsel, analysis of current affairs and predictions. Ed maintains the website and is an internationally published writer and presenter. He is a musician, constant student of the Alexander Technique, and an NLP consultant. Ed currently serves as the Vice President of both the Astrology Association of NSW and Sydney Astrological Research Society.