Can cloud formations predict earthquakes?

UPDATE: 28th May 2015

A new paper on this subject has recently been published on Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. The scientists examine the 2012 M 6.0 earthquake in the Po Valley of northern Italy. From inspection of 4 years of satellite images they find numerous examples of linear-cloud formations over Italy. A simple test shows no obvious statistical relationship between the occurrence of these cloud formations and earthquakes that occurred in and around Italy.

Read it the story here:


September 11, 2014

A new paper is out for discussion in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences titled On a report that the 2012 M = 6.0 earthquake in Italy was predicted after seeing an unusual cloud formation.

Po Valley, Italy

A group of researchers from various institutions in the USA and Italy took the task of studying cloud formations across the entire Italian peninsula. It all started after several reports had suggested that linear-cloud formations might be precursory to earthquakes. The researchers examined satellite images of northern Italy over the duration of four years in order to establish if the formations seen at the time of the 2012 magnitude 6 earthquake in the Po Valley, Italy were related to the earthquake itself.

Twenty-four separate examples of linear-cloud formations over Italy (January 2010 to December 2013), including the instance for 22 April 2012 that Guangmeng and Jie (2013) claim led them to predict the M = 6.0 Earthquake on 20 May 2012

Some of the presented examples of linear-cloud formations over Italy from January 2010 to December 2013.

The answer is no.
They observed numerous examples of linear-cloud formations over Italy, and concluded that there is no obvious statistical relationship between the occurrence of these cloud formations and earthquakes that occurred in and around Italy. Instead they claim that the cloud formations were formed by the interaction of moisture-laden wind flowing over mountains.

Access the full PDF here.


Matthew Agius is a recent PhD graduate from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in Ireland and is now doing research at the University of Southampton (National Oceanography Centre). His research focuses on the dynamics of the lithosphere beneath Tibet, the Central Mediterranean, and the Pacific Ocean. Matthew’s role as a young scientist representative is to promote the efforts done by young researchers and to engage in discussions that concern seismology students. You can reach Matthew via e-mail at


  1. Whith the clouds no but whith the gravitation may be yes…

  2. publications earthquake clouds the clouds in the satalite imagery is not very relevant

    if you want i can show them to you one by one

    i have a very detailed review of the nreserch. in this study i became aware of the new.

    satalite images althougt not very clear, ‘m surprised at this as the investigation lasted two years and aftern researching the work available to be pointed out howevwe place 4-5 earthquake

    howevwe , in the area at this time was much more earthquake occurred.


    if you are pointing to the clouds earthquake earthquake in this case each pointir must be a cloud.
    this my thesis.

    there fore research is lacking.

    i can show you the location of the earthquake %95 percent each.

    i guess there are many predic. while these estimates assuming as you have tried method. i looked shortly, browse long that i did not see a very robuts method.

    according to one method follow the 3 by 5 units as far as it can identify the locations of the earthquake.

    but now i am so glad that such a study was published. i am working on this issue for 15 years during this time thousand of earthquake prediction is made. of course the success rate is not me you should indetify the persons authorized in this regard. it did not matter i just can broadcast on their website.

    my guess however still avaliable on our facebook page. my country turkey. mers show them here until many scientists yet in the world for serious steps in this regard this issue was not discussed in the rest of him. because this subject in the world yet to be accepted.

    however from my point of you thise publication is very exciting. why this lack of inyeret in my work and i took a break however i would like to follow in your work.

    you are the estimates published in the presence of satallite imagery whether the right idea about the decisions you make can be put forward.

    your largest problem in your work you an earthquake clouds did you try to find out after the earthquake. however after the earthquake many clouds can be associated with him. you know therefor do not reach the correct result.

    in these page 6,0 magnetud earthquake in the satalite images of cloud point i could not see anyway. in addition the images that you publish show that you might not coincide with thye size.

    even if you asked about it in a scientific race we can.

    ‘ll send you predict from italy .. i am going send from turkey.

    in this way these issues with the concurrence of the worldwide efforts to put forward we will have a chance to provide scientists.

    no subject to compete. draw attention to issues and impose.

    i wish you succes in your work

    i congralate you for this brave step .

    take is easy.

  3. i wrote this message with google translation. there for you can sense the diffarence. i hope i could describe the outline. bye

  4. Yes. Iridescent clouds ocurred before Sichuan earthquake in China. Methane in large volume may be a good precursor signal of earthquake. Radon monitoring therefore is a good tool to predict earthquake.

  5. The last time we had a mixture of a variety of different types of clouds in the sky, we had an earthquake later that night. And on that day, the clouds truly caught my attention, they really stood out to me as “unusual”. When the earthquake happened, it immediately came back into my mind, how these clouds had stood out to me earlier in the day and I felt like there was some sort of connection.


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