Wed, May 11, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Science council dismisses super-quake prediction

Staff Writer, with CNA

Workers unload bottled water into a shelter made from cargo containers belonging to a self-proclaimed prophet in Puli, Nantou County, yesterday.

Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP

No abnormal underground movement has been detected over the past month, the National Science Council said yesterday, dismissing a prediction by a self-proclaimed prophet that a magnitude 14 earthquake would destroy Taiwan today.

“Everything looks smooth,” National Science Council Deputy Minister Chen Cheng-hong (陳正宏) said, pointing to recent data on groundwater levels, soil gas composition and magnetic intensity that are commonly used in seismic research.

“The council has no authority to take action against predictions made by individuals, but based on the scientific evidence we have now, we don’t see a massive earthquake coming,” he said.

A popular blogger who calls himself “Teacher Wang” predicted that a super earthquake would hit Taiwan at 10:42:37am today and “rip the island in half.”

Wang, whose apocalyptic warnings have caused some public anxiety, said his prediction was based on the Chinese classic Yi Jing (易經, Book of Changes).

As of yesterday, hundreds of freight containers had been delivered to Puli Township (埔里), Nantou County, for Wang and his followers, who believe it will be safer to take shelter in the converted containers when the earthquake and accompanying 170m-high tsunami hits.

A total of 9,000 sacks of rice weighing more than 27 tonnes, along with necessities such as bottled water and diesel fuel, have also been spotted at the site.

Rebuffed by scientists, Wang’s prediction has also drawn ridicule from Netizens.

“Why bother buying containers? Just get coffins!” one said on the Internet.

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