July 1, 1997
I have completed ninety issues of my monthly earthquake newsletter, SYZYGY, with a press run of 1000 copies and 400-600 subscribers. I am responding to several suggestions that I make available a "Best of SYZYGY" book, and that is where you may come in, if you are interested.
Historically, I was an establishment geologist, with 11 years as part of the U.S.G.S. and the U.S.B.R., and I taught one year at Appalachian State University. I published more than 50 papers of a more or less conventional nature. However, within a few months of becoming the first Santa Clara County Geologist in 1973, I began to predict earthquakes, based on tidal forces, and suddenly found myself labeled as a "Renegade" or "Maverick" geologist. I had to decide if I was going to conform or inform.....and I chose the latter.
I have publicly predicted all 21 Bay Area earthquakes that exceeded 5.0M since 1973 and hundreds of others, including Whittier, Upland, Northridge, Landers/Big Bear, Loma Prieta, and the two largest Seattle area quakes since 1965. (The Washington direct hits resulted in my receiving more than 2100 requests for sample copies of my newsletter.) Since January 1990 my predictions have been included within the "Seismic Windows" presented in my newsletter. Since 1980 I have also incorporated other factors, such as strange animal behavior, geyser periodicity, well anomalies, and magnetic field changes.
On June 30, 1996 I was interviewed for five hours on the Art Bell Show and the quake I predicted for the Bay Area occurred that night when a sharp 3.5M event shook San Francisco, and was felt in Marin County and the East Bay. Some San Franciscans considered it the strongest since 1989. Within two weeks after Art Bell said, "How about that Jim Berkland?!" I received 1050 requests for my newsletter.
My most publicized correct forecast was the World Series Quake, which I named in the Gilroy Dispatch just three days before the disaster. The surprising result was that the County wanted to fire me, and I was suspended for 2 1/2 months. When I was allowed to return to work, it was with the proviso that I no longer predict quakes "on County time." That is when I started to write SYZYGY, to appear in a weekly segment for a year on KPFA, and later to be on Sightings, You Bet Your Life, The Other Side, Northwest Afternoon, Town Meeting, Science Fiction Cable, the Laura Lee show, and a number of others, domestic and foreign.
After 21 years I retired from County service in 1994 and now do some consulting, but mostly travel, study history and gather information for my newsletter. I have been recognized by many publications and am listed in the 1996 and 1997 Who's Who in America, along with a number of other types of Who's Who.
When Ron Owens had a KGO contest for an "instant guest" in 1994, I received almost twice as many votes as the runner-up. Thus it appears that I have a built in audience, which was expanded by Art Bell in his Internet Slot, where I was called "the famous geologist." I now have my own website: syzygyjob.com
However, I have few friends in "High Science" where I am now considered to be an "enthusiast", a "clown", a "lucky guesser" or a "reader of tea leaves." among the more printable descriptions.. I have learned to shrug these off, as I am as much of a scientist as most of my scientific critics, especially when the definition of science includes objectivity, and an open mind. (Scientific "facts" are only progress reports, at best.)
I propose that "The Best of SYZYGY---an Earthquake Newsletter" include chapter headings that I employ as segments of most of my 84 issues: Foreshocks, Jest for Fun, Quote of the Month, Quake of the Month, Sound Advice, Planning Ploys, Seismic Sentries (Pet of the Month), Monthly Predictions, Last Month's Earthquakes, and Aftershocks. Occasionally, I have run pictures, graphs, cartoons, or lists of quakes for specific areas showing how they relate to tidal forces. Also I have several thousand letters from subscribers with nice things to say about my efforts (and a few that weren't impressed.) Some of both types might be suitable for inclusion in the compiled work.
I can send you sample issues to give you an idea about what is involved and would be happy to meet with you to explore the possibilities.
James O. Berkland
Geologist, MS, CEG-58, RG-107
(I have talked about mutual interests with Mark Carlotto, Richard Hoagland, Stan Friedman, Bill Moore, Stan McDaniel, John Anthony West and many other iconoclasts, who have a better grasp of scientific truth than many mainstream scientists. As a geologist I am quite aware that the most significant action of a stream is not in its core, but at its margins, where confining walls are eroded, meanders instituted, and sometimes whole new directions are achieved. I am proud not to be in the mainstream.)