April 27, 2012 – Pliny The Elder Predicts Earthquakes: To continue with yesterday’s theme, in his massive encyclopedic “Natural History,” Pliny offers astrological explanations for the cause of earthquakes and gives several warning signs that predict seismic activity:
“… Even earthquakes and fissures In the ground are caused by the force of the stars that is the cause of all other phenomena, but only by that of those three stars [Mars, Jupiter and Saturn] to which they assign thunderbolts; and they occur when these are traveling with the Sun or are in agreement with him, and particularly about the quadratures of the world [in conjunction with
the Sun or in favorable aspect].”
Almost 2,000 years ago, Pliny seems to be saying that earthquakes are caused when the Sun is conjunct, square or trine to Mars, Jupiter or Saturn. As a test of this statement, I constructed an elaborate aspect matrix; using the main planets, the North Node, Ascendant, Mid-Heaven and Part of Fortune, Vulcan, Transpluto and the eight Uranian planets. For each of these celestial object pairs, I measured the percentage that these pairs were found in the 354 earthquakes I had astrological data for. These involved Global earthquakes, from 1973 to 2012, greater than or equal to 7.0 magnitude.
The following orbs of influence were used for this analysis:
To elaborate on Pliny’s original statement, I measured the aspects between the Sun and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and obtained the following results:
I graphed the results as follows:
For example, the blue bar on the extreme left is the Sun conjunct Mars percentage. Specifically, it measures the number of times, in terms of a percentage, that the combination of Sun conjunct Mars was found in the 354 earthquake chart database (9.32%). That means that 33 out of 354 times, this Sun conjunct Mars aspect was present, within the orb of influence detailed above.
As you can see from the graph and matrix, there is great variability between aspects in the same planetary pair, and between pairs. Note: Parallel and Contra-Parallel aspects are declination aspects, which project the Earth’s equator into space. The conjunction (0*) to Inconjunct (150*) are Ecliptic aspects, which measures the planet angles along the apparent motion of the Sun through the sky.
So what does it all mean, in terms of Pliny’s assertion almost two millennia ago? Of the hundreds of celestial object pairs I measured, the average trine was 7.09% and the average square was 6.48%. Using Pliny’s planetary pairs, we get 5.46% for the trine and 6.78% for the square. Pliny wins on the mean square (6.78% versus 6.48%) but loses on the mean trine (5.46% versus 7.09%). Score one win and one lose for Pliny. It should be noted that I found several pairs greater than 10%.
The Master of Disaster