The notion that animals can somehow sense an incoming earthquake long before humans has been around for centuries. In 373 BC, at the peak of the classical Greek era, a violent earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed and submerged the city of Helike.

This city was known, ironically, as a center for worship for Poseidon – the god of the sea and earthquakes – and its loss to the murky depths just might have been the origin story to the legend of Atlantis.

Image credits: celestelabedz

But there’s another myth associated with this Greek tragedy. Apparently, 5 days before the massive earthquake struck, all the animals fled the city en masse, much to the puzzlement of the local people. Those critters knew what was coming, and got the hell out of there!

Countless reports of animals acting strangely before seismic activity have surfaced ever since, leading people to believe that there really is something to this phenomenon. Some believe that animals feel the Earth vibrate before humans. Others theorize that they can detect electrical changes in the air or even gasses released from the Earth.

Image credits: celestelabedz

However, there is no scientific evidence to back these ideas up. Enter Celeste Labedz, a cryoseismologist from Nebraska, who enjoys introducing complex scientific discoveries to regular people through her interesting and informative tweets.

Celeste has been in the headlines before – she dressed up as “glaciologist Princess Elsa” while out in the field in Alaska to inspire young girls to embrace science.

“I firmly believe that kids should not be taught that girly things and sciencey things are mutually exclusive,” she wrote. “Therefore, I packed a cape with my fieldwork gear just to show what glaciologist Princess Elsa would look like.”

Image credits: celestelabedz

Now, channeling the internet’s love of all things cat, Celeste has gone viral again. This time, she started an entertaining and informative thread about a tongue-in-cheek ‘earthquake early warning system’ – one that employs our furry friends and their superior senses.

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: celestelabedz

Image credits: Maxim Vidavsky

Genius! People were quick to jump on the amusing thread, particularly enthused by Celeste’s punny descriptions (Richt-purr Scale, anyone?), whilst also coming up with their own ideas on the theme.

These are the kind of viral threads we need more of in this world – less “the way this guy destroyed this other guy” stuff, and more bringing science to the masses!

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Image credits: ReevesCanon

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What do you think? Had you heard of the ‘animals know first’ theory before? Have you ever experienced an earthquake? Did you notice how animals reacted? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!