Rumours spread out on social media and WhatsApp groups in Pakistan that a major earthquake is likely to hit the South Asian region—including Pakistan, India and other countries—in the next few days.

The rumours escalated when the Twitter handle of an organization calling itself the ‘Solar System Geometry Survey (SSGEOS)’ predicted seismic activity in some parts of South Asia based on lunar activity, the location and geometry of planets, and other celestial objects.

While it is true that Pakistan and the surrounding region are located in an area that is prone to earthquakes, it is not possible to predict when and where an earthquake will occur with certainty. The rumours that a major earthquake is going to hit the region in the next few days are likely false and not based on scientific evidence.

Currently, it is not possible to accurately predict when and where an earthquake will occur. Despite significant progress in the field of seismology, earthquakes are still largely unpredictable due to their complex nature and the multitude of factors that can cause them. However, scientists and researchers can use various methods to monitor and study earthquakes and their precursors, such as changes in the Earth’s surface and in the patterns of seismic waves, to increase our understanding of earthquakes and reduce the risks associated with them.

While there is no guaranteed way to predict earthquakes, it is possible to detect earthquakes after they have occurred and to develop early warning systems that can alert people in affected areas to take appropriate action. Additionally, scientists and engineers can use this information to improve building codes and develop more earthquake-resistant structures, reducing the potential damage from earthquakes.

Yes, it is not uncommon for false information and hoaxes to spread on social media following a major natural disaster such as 7.8 magnitude quake and a string of aftershocks caused thousands of deaths in Turkey and Syria. In such situations, people may be looking for answers or attempting to make sense of a traumatic event, and may be more susceptible to false or misleading information. It’s important to be critical of information that is shared on social media and to verify information from credible sources before accepting it as true.

The unpredictability of earthquakes is due to a number of complex factors, including the many different types of seismic activity that can cause earthquakes, the unpredictable nature of the Earth’s crust, and the limited data and knowledge we have about the underlying processes that trigger earthquakes.

Earthquakes are caused by the release of energy stored in the Earth’s crust, which can be triggered by the movement of tectonic plates, volcanic activity, or man-made causes such as underground explosions or the filling of large reservoirs. The release of this energy creates seismic waves that travel through the Earth’s crust and cause the ground to shake.

However, the factors that lead to the release of this energy, and the timing and location of earthquakes, are not well understood, making it difficult to predict when and where earthquakes will occur. Furthermore, earthquakes can have a range of different magnitudes and intensities, and can occur suddenly without any clear warning signs.

While researchers have made significant progress in understanding earthquakes and the processes that trigger them, there is still much to be learned, and the ability to accurately predict earthquakes remains a significant scientific challenge. However, by continuing to study earthquakes and the precursors that may signal an impending earthquake, we can increase our understanding of earthquakes and reduce the risks associated with them. In the meantime, it’s important to rely on information from credible sources, such as the United States Geological Survey (USGS) or the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC), to stay informed about earthquakes and their potential impacts.