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Dutch Researcher’s ‘Prophecy’ Of Türkiye-Syria Quake Sparked Debate Over The Prediction Of Earthquakes

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, 2023, at around 4 a.m., sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel. The reckless quake toppled buildings that triggered a continuous frantic search for survivors in the rubble across the area.

The epicenter of the powerful earthquake was 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi, in Turkey’s Gaziantep province, at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.



CNN reported that it was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region since 1939 when a quake of the same magnitude killed more than 30,000 people. Over 11000 till now have been killed and thousands injured, with many aftershocks reverberating. The magnitude 7.5 aftershock is the strongest of over 100 aftershocks recorded within 36 hours of the initial earthquake. That aftershock hit around 95 kilometers (59 miles) north of the original.

The Predictions


The catastrophic earthquake that jolted Turkey and Syria was predicted by a Dutch researcher, Frank Hoogerbeets, three days before the quake. 


Mr. Hoogerbeets is a researcher at the Netherlands-based research institute Solar System Geometry Survey (SSGEOS), which monitors geometry between celestial bodies related to seismic activity. On February 3, 2023, he predicted an earthquake in south and central Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Using his Twitter account Dutch expert wrote:


“Sooner or later there will be a ~M 7.5 #earthquake in this region (South-Central Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon).”


Another prediction by Serkan Içelli also surfaced on the internet. In December 2022, Içelli, an expert in mining geology, earth sciences, and earthquakes, told Daily Sabah that an earthquake would hit Marmara (where the country’s most populous city of Istanbul is located ), the Aegean region. Marmara would see a major quake of intensity that would not exceed over 7.0 on the Richter Scale. 

“According to the calculations I made, the 1963 and 1999 series of earthquakes in Gölcük has relieved the stress in Marmara quite a bit. Hence, it is not possible for an earthquake over 5.8 to 6.2 in the Marmara Sea," he said.

 Icelli had expected a disastrous quake in The Aegean region.


“The Aegean region is a very complex place for us. Unfortunately, we do not follow that region very well. Especially the area under the island of Crete, called the Hellenic Arc, is dangerously prone to earthquakes. This region has previously produced earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 and is now causing the biggest earthquakes. In terms of our country, a tsunami may occur in parts of Muğla," he had explained.

Icelli said It is necessary to know the annual sliding rate of that fracture, the earthquake repetition period, and the largest earthquake it produced and analyze it with various formulas accordingly. 

 According to Google Maps, Gaziantep is located approximately 11 hours from the Aegean Sea region and 12 hours from Marmara, where a massive earthquake was predicted in December 2022 by Serkan Içelli.

The Quake Prediction Tweet Gone Viral

After the devastating quake, Hoogerbeet’s prediction' tweet went viral, amassing more than 55.3K retweets, 131.4K likes, and more than 36.5 million views. He responded to the earthquake, saying,

“My heart goes out to everyone affected by the major earthquake in Central Turkey. As I stated earlier, sooner or later, this would happen in this region, similar to the years 115 and 526. These earthquakes are always preceded by critical planetary geometry, as we had on 4-5 Feb.”

However, few users paid attention to the prediction, and some flagged him as a pseudo-scientist and questioned his earlier predictions.

In 2015, Mr. Hoogerbeet also predicted an earthquake of  8.8 magnitudes in California, which did not come true. At the time, he urged people to have an escape plan ready, warning of a profoundly dangerous earthquake.

The Relation Between Celestial Bodies And Seismic Activity

SSGEOS describes itself as a research institute for monitoring geometry between celestial bodies related to seismic activity. On 23 June 2014, SSGEOS found the first clue that specific geometry in the solar system may result in large earthquakes when three quakes of magnitude 6 occurred in the South Pacific. These quakes were followed by three more of magnitude 7.9 in the North Pacific within several hours of each other. It was a sudden increase in seismic activity in a  month.


A series of large earthquakes grouped a well-known phenomenon in seismology but unexplained. A solar system simulation software suggests that around 23 June 2014, six celestial bodies were involved in planetary conjunctions that converged into a near triangle, News18 quotes the institute as saying.

The specific geometry between heavenly bodies associated with large earthquakes is called “critical planetary geometry” or “critical lunar geometry” if the moon is involved. However, critical geometry does not always cause large earthquakes. A seismic increase up to magnitude 6.0 is occasionally observed. Other times there appears to be no seismic increase at all, SSGEOS says on its website, The Firstpost reported.

“This leads us to the conclusion that the condition of Earth’s crust, i.e., the amount of stress between tectonic plates and whether or not a fault section has reached its strain budget. This would logically indicate a direct relationship between the build-up of stress in Earth’s crust and electromagnetic charge from critical planetary geometry,” SSGEOS  says.


Can Earthquakes Actually Be Predicted? USGS Has The Answer 

No scientist has "ever predicted a major earthquake," Susan Hough, a seismologist in the Earthquake Hazards Program at the U.S. Geological Survey, told NPR. Hoogerbeet is gaining attention over his “scattershot statements and predictions” that have come true.

"So, yeah, it's the stopped clock, that's right, twice a day, basically," she said.

According to the US seismologist, the Dutch researcher showed a red spot on the map; the same area where the earthquake hit, but the location is a frequent site of seismic activity. It is an area with a triple junction, where three tectonic plates(in this case, the Anatolia, Arabia, and Africa plates)  converge. Except for the death toll, the earthquake was no surprise for seismologists.

“Turkey's a known earthquake zone. We've known about these faults, we know earthquakes this size are possible.”

The USGS is unequivocal in its statement that no one can predict earthquakes. "We do not know how, and we do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future," the agency says. Scientists can only estimate the probabilities of significant earthquakes occurring in a specific area within a given number of years (shown on USGS  hazard mapping).

Hough is among those who saw the tweet from Hoogerbeets. While he studies planetary alignments, others have claimed that ionospheric disturbances can sometimes signal a pending quake.

"You just keep getting these supposedly promising results, but nobody has established a track record of reliable predictions," she said. "If something were panning out, the proof would be in the pudding. Someone would be able to predict earthquakes reliably with a track record, and the whole world would take notice if somebody could do that. Nobody has."


Another Prediction: An Earthquake to Strike India Soon?

Hoogerbeet, who anticipated the quake in Turkey and Syria, had also predicted a sizeable seismic activity from Afghanistan through Pakistan and India, eventually terminating in the Indian Ocean

In the video, the Dutch researcher said, “These areas could be the next candidate for larger seismic activity if we look at the atmospheric fluctuations.” He claims that these projections are tentative because atmospheric fluctuations can detect not all significant earthquakes.

“Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and not all large earthquakes leave a footprint in the atmosphere they do not always announce themselves,” he added.

‘Planetary Geometry Prediction’ Slammed by Experts

In response to Hoogerbeet's prediction, the scientific community questioned both the validity of the "prediction" and the scientific basis for the group's methodology.

"A prediction should state time, place, and magnitude. 'Sooner or later' does not constitute a time. So he did not predict the quake," Roger Musson, author and geoscientist, who formerly worked for the British Geological Survey as Head of Seismic Hazard and Archives, told Newsweek.

Skeptics pointed out that the methodology used to make the "prediction" was dubious.

"The tidal forces within the Earth resulting from changing geometry with respect to other planets are minuscule and down among the noise," David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, told Newsweek in an email.

“Lunar tides within the Earth are bigger and so more likely to be the immediate trigger of an earthquake, but even so, all they will do is act as the 'final straw', initiating a quake that was about to happen anyway because the long term build-up of strain had approached a critical threshold.”

"I could say that 'sooner or later' there will be an M7 earthquake on the half of the E[ast] Anatolian fault that did not move today. I would be right, but it would be of no value as a prediction," Rothery concluded.

In the past, Hoogerbeets has been described as an amateur earthquake "enthusiast" and "quake mystic" who believes the movement of planets in our solar system can help us predict earthquakes. In response to the naysayers, Hoogerbeets acknowledged "much resistance within the scientific community regarding the influence of the planets and the Moon" on seismic activity on Earth. He deemed that attitude "an assumption," backing his position by sharing an image of a 1959 letter to the editor of Nature magazine.


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Tags: #earthquake #USGS #SSGEOS #dutchresearcher #India-Pakistanearthquakeprediction #Türkiye-Syria earthquake #FrankHoogerbeet #prediction


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