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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Are lake monsters inspired by earthquakes ?

By T.K. Randall
May 9, 2015 · Comment icon 7 comments

Could earthquakes have given rise to the Loch Ness Monster legend ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Ben Buxton
Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi believes that legends of lake monsters may have a geological origin.
Many theories have been put forward to explain sightings of the Loch Ness Monster over the years from wakes in the water to large fish entering the lake from the sea. One theory that hasn't been quite so well recognized however suggests that the legend of the famous Scottish lake monster may have been sparked by earthquakes causing disturbances in the water.

Geologist Luigi Piccardi believes that even the myths of the ancient Greeks may have been inspired by activity along fault lines.

"When you look at the reports of people who saw the monster, they say we heard a great noise, saw a large commotion in the water, and that the waves rocked," he said in an interview back in 2001.
"They say we couldn't see the beast because the water hid the creature. The usual sighting is humps moving in the lake and normal waves, which can be related to the seismic effect."

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Not everyone is convinced however with some critics arguing that his idea is even less plausible than the notion that there actually is a prehistoric monster living in Loch Ness.

Gary Campbell, president of the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, is one such skeptic.

"Piccardi seems to forget that we have a thousand stories of people who say they have seen in the water something solid like a head and a neck," he said.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Q-C 9 years ago
Native Peoples legends of land giants walking-- the result of/explanation for tremors and quakes is logical as well.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Qimmiq 9 years ago
I would have a very difficult time accepting such a theory as there are various geological institutions that monitor seismic activity. It would not be difficult to compare quakes / micro quakes to the dates of reported sightings. Not to mention that waves are not the things sighted, or reported as sighted.
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
Well, I suppose it is possible, but it seems to me that much more likely is WIND which can also promote very weird waves on a lake, while most of the rest of the lake is smooth.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Night Walker 9 years ago
http://www.dailymail...phenomenon.html Not to mention that waves are not the things sighted, or reported as sighted. Moving humps have been reported. From the shore, a single seismic wave travelling along the loch would resemble a moving hump, wouldn't it? While there is no single explanation for sightings this one is plausible, may account for some sightings, and does, therefore, provide another piece to the puzzle...
Comment icon #5 Posted by Kiltedmusician 9 years ago
Who can say what inspires them. Could be the moon light, fireflies, seismic activity as they suggest, but the real story is the beautiful masterpieces of art and literature that they produce. Rock on watersaurs. Rock on.
Comment icon #6 Posted by BeastieRunner 9 years ago
Or it could be creatures from the Rift!
Comment icon #7 Posted by sam12six 9 years ago
My girlfriend and I were once walking the shores of Loch Ness and a scaly head on a long neck popped up out of the water. She grabbed my arm and cried, "Earthquake!!" At the time I thought it was strange, but now realize if I were as scientific-minded as I believe, it would have made perfect sense...

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