#NepalEarthquake: Cease & Desist From Spreading Rumours

The 5 ridiculous rumors circulated on social media and on WhatsApp post the #NepalEarthquake

Published
World
4 min read
Atleast 3700 people killed, more than 6000 injured in the earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale that struck Nepal on Saturday (Photo: Reuters)

It is now three days since the #NepalEarthquake. Even as thousands are still awaiting news of their loved ones, what’s really not helping are the ridiculous rumors being circulated on social media and mobile phones.

1.Earthquakes Cannot Be Predicted

Sad, but true. There exists no accepted scientific way to predict the exact time, place and intensity of an earthquake. Tectonic plates are in a constant state of motion and the factors applying pressure on fault lines are complex, so it’s impossible to accurately predict an occurrence.

At best, scientists can refer to history and make an educated guess about the frequency with which an earthquake will strike. Lets hope the scientific community develops the technical know-how to accurately predict a quake, but till then, lets avoid spreading panic by circulating messages like these.

Message received on WhatsApp
Message received on WhatsApp

2. No, NASA did not Predict Apocalypse

The Indian subcontinent did collide with the Eurasian plate 40-50 million years ago. The collision created The Himalayas. So, if the “Indian subcontinent” were to “slide under the Eurasian plate”, there would be very few of us alive to feel its impact.

Also, NASA is in the business of aeronautics and aerospace, not spamming the world via WhatsApp.

Message received on WhatsApp
Message received on WhatsApp

3. The Moon is Safe & Sound

The award for the most ridiculous rumor has to go to the “moon is upside down” viral message. 62 people were killed in Bihar and hundreds of scared families have spent the last two nights out in the open because of repeated aftershocks. So when a text message claimed the moon had flipped, the district administration had to step in and set the record straight.

@EtvBihar/Twitter: Reports of the moon having turned upside down are completely false. The moon is where is ought to be: Patna District Adminstration
@EtvBihar/Twitter: Reports of the moon having turned upside down are completely false. The moon is where is ought to be: Patna District Adminstration

And for those who are a little less trusting, some TV news networks did their bit by presenting “proof” that the moon was in fact, in its rightful place. Though, we cant see how anyone can tell from the picture below whether the moon is standing on its head ! 

The moon as it appeared in Patna on April 26 at 7:55 PM (Photo: Aaj Tak)
The moon as it appeared in Patna on April 26 at 7:55 PM (Photo: Aaj Tak)

4. Tremors in Mumbai & Chennai?

Some news agencies reported mild tremors in the two earthquake-prone cities. But the panic on social media was far more exaggerated than the level 3 tremors that just a few people actually experienced.

#NepalEarthquake: Cease & Desist From Spreading Rumours
#NepalEarthquake: Cease & Desist From Spreading Rumours
#NepalEarthquake: Cease & Desist From Spreading Rumours
#NepalEarthquake: Cease & Desist From Spreading Rumours

5. Can Dogs Predict Earthquakes?

No. Dogs have heightened senses, yes. But if your pet dog was unusually alert or quiet before the earthquake, give credit to its genetically heightened senses. Odd animal behavior before a natural calamity is not unheard of. But to say that there is a link between animal behavior and earthquakes would be a stretch.

Sniffer dog handler Birgit Ostendorf prepares her dog ‘Cooper’ for board their flight to Nepal from Frankfurt Airport. Seven rescue dogs and 51 doctors, medics and logistical experts flew to Nepal on Sunday. (Photo: Reuters)
Sniffer dog handler Birgit Ostendorf prepares her dog ‘Cooper’ for board their flight to Nepal from Frankfurt Airport. Seven rescue dogs and 51 doctors, medics and logistical experts flew to Nepal on Sunday. (Photo: Reuters)

Stop the Rumours!

The government also tried to shed some light on the barrage of misinformation doing the rounds on social media.

Many comments come on social media that earthquake is going to happen at this hour. We should adopt restraint and not spread rumours on social media. I also appeal to people not to pay attention to such rumors being spread on social media

- Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Telecom & IT Minister

Read the latest on the #NepalEarthquake at The Quint.

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