SYZYGY...An Earthquake Newsletter
Sizz-a-Jee (Linked by a common need & interest)
Editor: Jim Berkland
1175 Chauvet Rd. Box 1926
Glen Ellen, CA. 95442
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James O. Berkland


Vol. 8. No. 7
JULY 1997


Hello, Folks:

What a time we have had since last month's SYZYGY! After 30 years I am ensconced in my new (but former) quarters in rural Glen Ellen; however, the World still could beat an electronic path to my door because of my building a better "quake trap." During the June Seismic Window there was another Rattle in Seattle with some unique Northwest and Southwest USA seismic symmetry. Three quakes of 4.1-4.8M hit within 140 miles of Los Angeles, and another three of 4.6-4.9M within 140 miles of Seattle. In addition, another 4.2M SoCal quake at San Bernardino was only 14+ hours late. Typically, Salton Sea trough quakes occur late (from day 8 to day 13 following syzygy,) probably related to the high heat flow along the San Andreas there.

As a result of this flurry of seismicity I have received more than 380 letters, answered dozens of phone calls and have been interviewed by more than twenty media reporters from as far away as New York and Australia. I am sure this widespread reaction causes some chagrin in "High Science", which still maintains that earthquake prediction is impossible. I am told that my hubristic scientific colleagues do not contact me because they are reluctant "to increase my credibility."
Despite that, there have been a number of articles written about my latest successful predictions, I have thus far received two newspaper articles from the Northwest, thanks to considerate subscribers, Muriel Cameron and Gloria Freeman. First was a favorable front-page article written by Lloyd Pritchett of the Kitsap County SUN: "CALIFORNIA GEOLOGIST'S PREDICTION RINGS TRUE". Since I am back in the Valley of the MOON, it almost looks as if I am dealing with a Sun/Moon "semantic syzygy," if there can be such a thing. The second was by reporter, Paul Sukovsky, of the Seattle POST INTELLIGENCER. This one was entitled: "PREDICTOR OF EARTHQUAKES SCORES AGAIN WITH THEORY."

Another and, perhaps, more important article is in the works by Tom Paulson, science editor for Seattle's POST INTELLIGENCER. He is doing a considerable amount of homework, including a plus one-hour phone interview with me. He expects to publish just prior to my next predicted period of vulnerability, the Seismic Window of July 19-26, 1997. During our conversation I had casually mentioned that from 1976-1990 the S.F. Bay area media seemed equally interested in my work, and I have albums full of several hundred newspaper and magazine articles about my successes (and misses.) But since shortly after my prediction of the 1989 World Series Earthquake, it appears that there has been a "Berkland blackout" in the Bay Area media. After a moment's hesitation, Tom responded evenly, "Your observation is correct." Can you believe it? My worst suspicions were true, and for seven years I have undergone yet another form of scientific censorship. However, I will not go away! Why should I?

It is ironic that Seattle's P. I . was one of the first sources in confirming my theory about tides and quakes back in 1975.
The paper published a short article stating that 21 of 22 of the strongest earthquakes in the Puget Sound area had occurred within two days of a new or full moon. With a little searching I believe I could find that battered clipping, which I have cited on numerous occasions. It had been mailed to me long ago by volcano-expert, Janet Tanaka, {resident of Issaquah, WA and editor of an excellent and economical newsletter, VOLCANO QUARTERLY. (206) 391-7980 FAX}
Sharp-eyed Janet recently sent me a post card to point out a significant typo in my June SYZYGY. In discussing my prediction of the first eruption of Mt. Saint Helens in this century, I slipped a digit. The date was March 27, 1980, not March 20, as printed. As Janet noted, March 20 was the date for the 4.3M premonitory quake directly under the cone. (That had been the strongest quake in the Pacific states during the A+ Seismic Window of March 16-23, 1980, and I was well aware of it, but failed to note the erroneous date during editing. That quake, and two 3M aftershocks were the main reason for my expecting a 1980 eruption. Thanks again, Janet.)

Almost every other writer or talk-show host has had something to say about the great "Fight Foulies", so I might as well join the throng while it is still timely. In previous years I would have sent this item to columnist, Herb Caen, who had printed four of my contributions.
I think he would enjoy this one from whichever three dots in the sky he is presiding over (perhaps the Belt of Orion?)

Clearly, Iron Mike Tyson was the Winner of the Chomp--ionship Fight, although Evander paid d-ear-ly. Mike could be a great bullfighter.
In the ring he got TWO EARS and the only higher award is two ears and a TAIL. (I guess we are lucky that there wasn't another round.!)

QUOTE OF THE MONTH It appears that we have returned to the Dark Ages of earthquake science (prior to 1960) when almost every geophysicist and seismologist agreed (at least publicly) that earthquakes could not be predicted, as they were random events. Until January 8, 1974 I had been influenced by all of this negative discussion during ten collegiate years of indoctrination and ten years of work experience. However, on that date I noticed that six out of six recent Bay Area quakes fit a pattern related to the new or full Moon (syzygy) and I made my first earthquake prediction for Santa Clara County. A 4.4M shook the south County two days later, and I thought how simple it was. I was six out of eight for 1974, including the 5.2M Thanksgiving Day Quake. I have maintained a success rate of 75% or better ever since. What is the reaction of the non-scientists in the Northwest?

Jim Berkland, Geologist,
I'm writing in regard to your earthquake newsletter. Please add my name to your mailing list. We in the Seattle area just had another earthquake and I heard part of an interview with Mr. Berkland explaining about tides and the Moon and how he had accurately predicted a "window" for a probable quake in our area. You've got my attention! I'm extremely interested in any and all information you can pass along and am enclosing a SASE as was mentioned in the interview. Within a half-hour of what Mr. Berkland had said, a listener called in to the station to verify that she had received your newsletter for quite some time and that Mr. Berkland was 3 for 3! Living in a quake zone I know there are more to come and receiving your newsletter will be very informative.

Thank you, Nancy England,
Seattle, WA

Sir: I would like to know how to get. your newsletter.
I am very interested. I thank you and Channel 4 for airing your predictions.
Your spurred me into strapping my tall furniture to the wall and getting things together in a kit. We tend to put things off and I thank you for waking me up. If I have a risky time slot, I can stay away from tall buildings and cities.
Thank you again, Roberta Lundquist, Olympia, WA

Mr. Brooklyn: Wow, the plates are in motion. I don't totally believe the media. The quakes of June 23rd and 24th ARE related in that the plate pressure is building up to the point that with a little more stress on the faults, they are reacting. The key really is preparedness.
I've long been interested in TV documentaries concerning earthquakes and volcanoes. I really wonder if instead of nursing, I should have majored in seismology, geology, volcanology, anthropology, archaeology?
Oh well, I was able to inform my peers last week of your February prediction for June 22nd or thereabouts.
Wow! You are 3 and 0! (in mariner terms.) Not only will it be totally interesting to me, but also provide probable and (at this point) valid info for all those I know.
Pat Carter, RNB, Everett, WA

Jim Burkland, Please send me a free copy or your newsletter.
I think you are providing a great service.
Cheryl Sabin, Seattle, WA

Jim Berkland, Please send more info re: newsletter. It is very fascinating how your predictions are right on the money.
Thanks for the warnings, Lizzie Keare
Henderson, Seattle, WA

Dear Jim, O.K. I give up! Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $40 for a subscription to your earthquake newsletter.
Thank you, Gary MacIver, Redondo
Beach, CA

Hi, I live in Campbell River, which is about mid-island on Vancouver Island in Canada. I felt the (4.6M) earthquake on June 24th about 07:45 AM. I have to admit to not paying much attention to the talk of earthquakes up here. After living in San Diego, CA for 10 years, where I felt my share of them and believed the real risk to be there. But I'm paying attention now, so would like a copy of your newsletter. I had heard on the radio a couple of days prior to last weeks quake that someone had predicted quakes for Seattle and I'm assuming that was you.
Thanks, Lynn Mosky,
Campbell River, B.C., Canada.

Dear Mr. Burkland, I am very impressed with your studies of earthquakes and the predictions that result from those studies. Actually, I am in awe! Anyway, I would like to be on the mailing list for your newsletter. Enclosed with this note is a self-addressed stamped envelope for the most recent issue. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Paul Hill,
Seattle, WA

Dear Mr. Berkland, Hear you on the news and believe what you are saying to be true. Keep up the good work!! Please send me a copy of your newsletter and any other information that is appropriate.
Thank you and God bless you!
Sincerely, Michael
Ortega, Tacoma, WA

Dear Mr. Berkland, I'm guessing the spelling of your name.
I listened to you on KIRO this week and am quite impressed with the data you used to predict earthquakes. It is sort of a holistic approach to seismology. I've been interested in subduction earthquakes ever since the Alaska quake of 1964 when I was employed the Dept. of Economic Development and Planning for the state of Alaska. I've conducted a self study of various aspects of geology ever since. I now live in the San Juan Islands in the state of Washington. I have served on an Emergency Disaster Committee for the Cape San Juan, on San Juan Island in 1993-94. My position was to acquire seismic risk data for the San Juan Islands if we had a subduction earthquake. I have had several phone calls and letters with Brian Atwater at the University of Washington during that period. I was particularly interested in your comments regarding the 100 gamma change read by new instruments on Kodiak Island just prior to the Alaska subduction quake. It made me wonder what kind of instruments they were and if the state of Washington has this type of instrument in operation. At least it would provide "some" advance warning.
I would like to receive your Syzygy Newsletter. Is there a charge? Also, if you have time, I would like to know if you know if the state of Washington seismologists have the same type of equipment that Kodiak, Alaska had. Keep on keeping on...I feel that you are on to something.
Sincerely, Marilyn Stone, Friday Harbor, WA

Dear Mr. Berkland,
Please send us your newsletter. My husband and I have seen or heard you on various news reports and radio talk shows over the past couple of years, and we agree with your theory. In fact, we believed the moon and tides to have an effect on seismic activity before ever hearing of you. It just makes sense. How exciting it was to have someone with your credentials confirm what we thought to be true.
Someday, because of your high accuracy record, other scientists will be forced to listen to you. It's like all the information is right there in front of them, but they just can't see it! Thank you for your knowledge and dedication.
Sincerely, Sharon Wiecek,
Monroe, WA

The foregoing is a small sampling of comments in more than 380 letters I have received since my June seismic window opened. After my prediction of the 5.1M Federal Way quake of July 28, 1995, I received in excess of 2100 letters. Following my success on May 2, 1996 with the 5.4M Duvall quake, I received more than 800 letters. Now, with less than 400 responses, there is a waning of interest in the Northwest, or my predictions are becoming "old hat." Whatever the condition of my hat, it is in better shape than that of "High Science" when it comes to the prediction of earthquakes. From their own statements about giving up on prediction, their hat is no longer even in the ring.

SEISMIC SENTRIES (Pet of the Month)
Via mail and my new website ( I have been inundated with items suitable for this column. We have seismic sentries all over the place! Such as:
Jack Emery of Woodinville, WA said, "I totally agree with your theory on what precipitates these events and animal behavior preceding an earthquake" Jack had been very interested in quakes since experiencing the March 10, 1933 Long Beach Earthquake (6.3M), which just happened to be on the day of a lunar eclipse. Prior to the 4.9M in Bremerton, WA, Jack's Scottish terror began hiding in a closet and "acting very nervous." As the dog is only one-year old he is not yet time-tested, but he may be a real seismic sentry.

Jill LeMieux, of Indianola, WA, described an important aspect of animal quake-sensitivity. It does not work all of the time, and it may be lost through trauma or age.
Jill wrote, I had the distinct pleasure of living on the Oakland Army Base during the "World Series Quake" in 1989 (ED 3 days after the October Full Moon and 3 days after the closest approach of the Moon in three years!) For two weeks prior to that, our dog did not want to stay in the house. She went as far as to scratch at the door knob until the door opened. Luckily, she never disappeared. The afternoon of the quake she hid under the kitchen table and wouldn't come out, not even to eat. Ever since she has been our faithful predictor.
She is now 13 years old and failed to warn us of the recent activity in the Puget Sound Area. I usually catch your interviews with Kent and Alan on Star 101.5, but missed you this time. I am a firm believer in your theories and would like information on subscribing to your newsletter.
I really don't like being caught off-guard by these things.
Keep up the good work!

Sincerely, Jill LeMieux, Indianola, WA

I will be including more such items from the Northwest in future issues of SYZYGY and I encourage readers to submit more. Such examples encourage other readers to watch for and to pay attention to their own animals. Also people become less reluctant to discuss the whole issue of premonitory signals to quakes and the role of animals.

In this new section we deal with phenomena for which there seems to be no "scientific" explanation. For this year, at least, I will cover past personal experiences that I have deliberately overlooked in SYZYGY through the first seven years of its existence because I was reluctant to diminish my "reputation" in the scientific community.
Now it is clear that any route involving truth is the proper route.
Consider the following:

Bridge to the Future Back in 1979 my young swimmers (5 yrs. and 10 yrs.) were competing with a growing San Jose swim club, Golden Hills Aquatics (Later to be West Coast Aquatics.) Following the swim season our annual awards picnic was held at a beach north of Santa Cruz, CA at Natural Bridges State Park. This lovely park is noted as a wintering place for thousands of monarch butterflies (thanks to their known magnetic homing sense) and was named for its fine, arching, wave-cut natural bridges. I thought it would be challenging to swim out through the surf and then right through the larger "bridge" I called to my 5-year old son, Jay, to hold on to my neck so that we could do it together. It was quite a thrill for both of us, and we emerged unscathed., with a sense of accomplishment.
The following year in my position as Santa Clara County geologist I reached my pinnacle as an administrator. Until the Jarvis-Gann tax initiative hit home, I briefly had as many as four assistants, including one young lady, Susan Thomas, a recent graduate in geology from U.C. Santa Cruz. Knowing that she lived north of Santa Cruz, I greeted her one morning in early 1980 to commiserate, "It's too bad that the storm destroyed your natural bridge; my son and I just swam under it last year." Susan looked at me in astonishment and replied, "I just drove by it this morning and it was still there." Now I was perplexed, because I was confident that I had just read about it or had seen something about it on the TV news. Less than two weeks later a new storm destroyed the arch, and the prehistoric bridge was no more. I still do not know the source for my prescient observation.

Not limited to Puget Sound residents but often directed to them, this section includes some basic truths about earthquakes that can be useful to all readers. In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of June 24, 1997 there is a table of 15 "Recent Earthquakes." Excluding three of less than 3.0M, there are 12 meaningful quakes that show a relationship to syzygy that is unmistakable. (quakes of +3.5M in italics were not included on the P-I list.)

 1997 June 23 4.9M Bremerton  12:13 p.m. FM+3;  P+0; Synchroneity, 53 hrs.
      Feb. 09 3.5M Seattle     8:26 p.m. NM+2;  P+2; Synchroneity, 2 hrs.!
 1996 Sept 29 3.6M Poulsbo N   4:07 p.m. eFM+3; P+5; Sychroneity, 53 hrs.
      Sept 24 3.5M Poulsbo W   5:06 a.m. eFM-2; P+0; Synchroneity, 53 hrs.
      May 04  3.6M Duvall      6:38 a.m. NM+1;  P-2; Synchroneity, 84 hrs.
      May 02  3.5M Duvall      8:57 p.m. NM-1;  P-4; Synchrontity, 84 hrs.
      May 02  5.4M Duvall      9:04 p.m. NM-1;  P-4; Synchroneity, 84 hrs.
      Jan 21  3.3M North Bend  8:06 a.m. NM+1; P+2;  Synchroneity, 26 hrs.
 1995 Jul 13  3.7M Mt. Rainier 3:28 a.m. FM+1; P+0;  Synchroneity, 25 hrs.
      May 20  4.1M Mt. Rainier 5:49 a.m. FM+6; P+6;  Synchroneity 18 hrs!
      Jan 28  5.1M Federal Way 7:11 p.m. NM-1; P-2;  Synchroneity 18 hrs!
 1994 Jul 22  3.1M Bellevue    2:56 a.m. FM+0; P+4;  Synchroneity 69 hrs.
      Jun 15  4.0M Bremerton   1:22 a.m. NM+6; P+22; Synchroneity 25 hrs.
 1965 Apr 29  6.5M Tacoma      8:29 a.m. NM-1; P-3;  Synchroneity 63 hrs.
 1949 Apr 13  7.1M Olympia    11:56 a.m. eFM+1; P+1; Sychroneity 1 hr.!!
Note: Seismic Windows usually extend for 8 days from syzygy -1 day thru syzygy +6 days.
Synchroneity is the time difference between syzygy and perigee (closest monthly approach of the Moon. Synch. ranges from minutes to 8 days, but is less than 25 hrs. only from 2 to 5 times per year. Note synch. for the largest Washington quake. (eFM refers to the day of a lunar eclipse, a perfect syzygy.)

For previous seven July issues of SYZYGY we have discussed the July quakes south of San Jose (6.6M, 1911); Tehachapi (7.7M, 1952); Caracas, (6.5M, 1967); Fallon, Nevada (6.6M, 1954); New Ireland Is. (7.9, 1971); and Katmandu, Nepal (6.7M, 1980.) The day after last month's seismic window closed, San Bernardino was rattled by a 4.4M jolt. Motivated by that event, let us examine the 6.7M San Bernardino quake of 1899, which was over 2,000 times as energetic as the recent shaker, although both quakes were on the San Andreas Fault.

On July 22, 1899 at 12:32 p.m. PST San Jacinto and Hemet, California were badly shaken by a quake of intensity VIII, that was felt throughout southern California, and caused damage in Los Angeles, Pomona, Pasadena, and Barstow, but it was especially significant in San Bernardino and Patton. There were landslides in the mountains up to 20 miles away and Cajon Pass was totally blocked for about four miles.
In Lytle Creek Canyon, north of San Bernardino, an adobe house collapsed. Several streams increased their flow significantly. Twenty hours earlier, there was a 5.6M foreshock, and there were at least nine aftershocks.
The epicenter of the main shock was near 34.3N and 117.5 W. It occurred just one month after the summer solstice, and almost simultaneous with the time of the Full Moon, which was just 14 hours before the third closest approach (perigee) of the Moon for the year. Thus the San Bernardino quake of 1899 was in a classic seismic window, during a time of maximum tidal forces.

During the June 20-27, 1997 seismic window there were no major quakes. In fact there were no M7+ earthquakes anywhere on Earth for the entire month, leaving us with five majors so far this year, which leaves us on track for a normal year of seismicity. However, all five occurred in predicted windows, on Jan 11, Feb 27, Mar 11, Apr 2, and May 10, 1997.

(1) The S.F. Bay area has been unusually quiet, the maximum event during the window measured 2.8M and it truck west of Carmel on June 23. (2) Within 140 miles of Los Angeles there were a number of hits including a 4.3M on near San Clemente Is. on June 20th and a 3.6 NW of Mojave on June 27th. Also there were San Clemente quakes of 4.8 and 4.1M less that four hours before the window opened, and a San Bernardino 4.2M quake less than 15 hours after the window closed. (3) Within 140 miles of Seattle there was a startling 4.9M event at 12:13 p.m. on June 23rd and within 24 hours there were two more moderate jolts of 4.6M near Grand Coulee and on Vancouver Island. An aftershock of 3.7M hit near Bremerton on June 27th, the last day of the window, and then the seismic activity lessened abruptly, probably to resume during the July window.

The MOSS prediction (Monthly Outright Seismic Speculation) failed again, as there were no 3M quakes in New England during the month of June. My guesswork predictions have proved correct only once in 38 tries, adding strength to my scientific selections.

The seismic window of July 19-26, 1997 is a time of significant tidal forces, as the full Moon of July 19 is followed only 53 hours later by a close lunar perigee, producing a range of tides at the Golden Gate of 7.8 feet, at Puget Sound of 14.7 feet, and at Juneau, Alaska the maximum monthly range of 23.2 feet will occur on July 21st. Keeping in mind that a foot of water over each square mile weighs about one million tons and that the change in loading takes place within six hours, you can see why old Mother Earth can slip a disk. Certainly the potential for movement along faults increases significantly. Based purely upon the tidal effect, I predict, with 75% confidence, that during the July 19-26, 1997 seismic window there will be: (1) An earthquake of 3.5-5.5M within 140 miles of San Jose, CA; (2) A similar event within 140 miles of Los Angeles; (3) A similar event within 140 miles of Seattle; and (4) A major quake of 7+ magnitude somewhere, probably within the Pacific Ring of Fire.


I urge you to check out my new and improved website, maintained by my new webmaster, Will Fletcher ( In the first 14 days of operation it has achieved over 4500 hits, which exceeds three months of operation of the old site. I have always wanted to go "down under" and at least my voice will on July 9th, when I will have a phone interview with Ken Dickin and Sonya Feldhoff during their Breakfast Show in Adelaide, South Australia (5DN.) I will be speaking across the International Date Line, and so I will talk to tomorrow.
This may be a new way for predicting!

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