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Predicting earthquakes


PART 1-You are going to read an article. For questions 1 – 6, choose the answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the text. Mark your answers on the separate answer sheet ¹1.

Predicting earthquakes

Since the beginning of recorded history, virtually every culture in the world has reported observations of unusual animal behaviour prior to earthquakes and, to a lesser extent, volcanic eruptions, but conventional science has never been able to adequately explain the phenomenon.

Nevertheless, the Chinese and Japanese have used such observations for hundreds of years as an important part of their earthquake warning systems.


Most significantly, on February 4, 1975 the Chinese successfully evacuated the city of Haicheng several hours before a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, saving nearly 90,000 lives. This was based primarily on observations of unusual animal behaviour.


Helmut Tributsch's classic work on the subject of earthquakes and unusual animal behaviour - When the Snakes Awake - details numerous consistent accounts of the phenomenon from all over the world. However, although these behaviour patterns are very well-documented, most American specialists do not take them very seriously. In fact, most conventional geologists do not believe that there are any earthquake prediction techniques which perform any better than chance; this includes unusual animal behaviour. In fact, the notion that odd animal behaviour can help people predict earthquakes is perceived by most traditional geologists in the West as folklore and is often treated as seriously as sightings of ghosts, Elvis Presley, and the Loch Ness Monster.


Unusual behaviour is difficult to define, and determining if there is a typical behaviour pattern is not a simple, clear-cut process, although there are some distinct patterns which have emerged. An example of this, which has often been reported, is an intense fear that appears to make some animals cry or bark for hours, and others run away in panic. Equally typical is the phenomenon of wild animals losing their usual fear of people.

Although the majority of accounts relate to dogs and cats, there are also many stones about other types of animals in the wild, on farms, and in zoos. Unusual behaviour has been reported in many other animal species as well, including fish, reptiles, and even insects. This strange behaviour can occur at any time in advance of a quake - from weeks to seconds.


A number of theories have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, and what the signals that the animals are picking up on might be. Because many animals possess auditory capacities beyond the human range, it has been suggested.


Another possibility is fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field. Because some animals have a sensitivity to variations in the Earth's magnetic field (usually as a means of orientation), and since variations in the magnetic field occur near the epicenters of earthquakes, it has been suggested that this is what the animals are picking up on.


Other mysterious phenomena are often connected with earthquakes. The regular eruptions of geysers have been interrupted. Water levels in wells have been reported to change, or the water itself has become cloudy. Magnets have been said to lose their power temporarily. Many people report that there is suddenly an inexplicable stillness in the air, and that all around them becomes completely silent. Strange lights are often seen glowing from the earth, and unusual fogs have been reported. These phenomena are all consistent with the notion that the odd animal behaviour may result from changes in the earth's electromagnetic field. More puzzling is the fact that a number of people even claim to have sighted UFOs hovering around earthquake sites.


Currently Western science does not have any reliable means of forecasting earthquakes. Any clues that may be used to help us predict when and where the next quake is coming should be approached with an open mind.


  1. What does the writer say about the occurrence of unusual animal behaviour before earthquakes?

A.It does not happen everywhere in the world

B.Many countries use it to predict earthquakes

C.It is equally common before volcanic eruptions

D.There is no generally approved scientific explanation for it


  1. Japanese and Chinese scientists concern observation of strange animal behaviour to be

A.one of the most important ways of preventing earthquakes

B.a branch of geology that they don’t take seriously

C.the only way to predict an earthquake

D.a very important part of their folklore


  1. According to the writer of the article, most conventional geologists

A.use unusual animal behaviour to prevent the consequences of earthquakes

B.think When the Snakes Awake is well-researched

C.believe there is no sure way of preventing the consequences of earthquakes

D.support scientific study of unusual animal behaviour


  1. What does the writer say about how animals behave before an earthquake?

A.Both wild and domesticated animals show unusual behaviour

B.Cats and dogs show more unusual behaviour than other animals

C.All animals become frightened of people

D.Some pets run away from home


  1. What is a possible cause of animals’ strange behaviour?

A.They feel the earth beginning to move

B.They sense changes in the earth’s magnetic field

C.They are highly sensitive to magnets

D.They hear loud sounds below the earth’s surface


  1. How does the writer react to claims that UFOs have been seen around earthquake sites?

A.He thinks the claims are probably true

B.He doesn’t believe the claims

C.He is confused by the claims

D.He considered the claims


  1. What is reported to happen before an earthquake?

A.People claim to see strange lights and odd animal behaviour

B.Everything becomes silent and foggy

C.UFOs are noticed in earthquake sites

D.Absolute stillness, fogs, flashes are considered to be warnings of an earthquake.


  1. What is the main point the writer of the article is trying to make?

A.More studies need to be done on animal behaviour and earthquakes

B.Western scientists should listen to new ideas about how to predict earthquakes

C.People who say they can predict earthquakes are not of sound mind

D.It is impossible to predict when earthquakes will occur.


PART 2 - You are going to read an article about animal behaviour. Seven sentences have been removed from the article. Choose from the sentences A-H the one which fits each gap (1-7). There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use. Mark your answers on the separate answer sheet ¹1.

Nature’s cheats

Anna is digging in the ground for a potato, when along comes Paul. Paul looks to see what Anna's doing and then, seeing that there is no one in sight, starts to scream as loud as he can. Paul's angry mother rushes over and chases Anna away. Once his mum has gone, Paul walks over and helps himself to Anna’s potato.

Does this ring a bell? I’m sure it does. We’ve all experienced annoying tricks when we were young - the brother who stole your toys and then got you into trouble by telling your parents you had hit him. [1 ] They’re African baboons, and playing tricks is as much a part of monkey behaviour as it is of human behaviour.


Throughout nature, tricks like this are common – they are part of daily survival. There are insects that hide from their enemies by looking like leaves or twigs, and harmless snakes that imitate poisonous ones. [2 ] Some animals, however, go further and use a more deliberate kind of deception – they use normal behaviour to trick other animals. In most cases the animal probably doesn't know it is deceiving, only that certain actions give it an advantage. But in apes and some monkeys the behaviour seems much more like that of humans.


What about Paul the baboon? His scream and his mother’s attack on Anna could have been a matter of chance, but Paul was later seen playing the same trick on others. [3 ] Another tactic is the ‘Look behind you!’ trick. When one young male baboon was attacked by several others, he stood on his back legs and looked into the distance, as if there was an enemy there. The attackers turned to look behind them and lost interest in their victim. In fact, there was no enemy.

Studying behaviour like this is complicated because it is difficult to do laboratory experiments to test whether behaviour is intentional. It would be easy to suggest that these cases mean the baboons were deliberately tricking other animals, but they might have learnt the behaviour without understanding how it worked. [4 ] They discovered many liars and cheats, but the cleverest were apes who clearly showed that they intended to deceive and knew when they themselves had been deceived.


An amusing example of this comes from a psychologist working in Tanzania. A young chimp was annoying him, so he tricked her into going away by pretending he had seen something interesting in the distance. [5 ]

Another way to decide whether an animal’s behaviour is deliberate is to look for actions that are not normal for that animal. A zoo worker describes how a gorilla dealt with an enemy. 'He slowly crept up behind the other gorilla, walking on tiptoe. When he got close to his enemy he pushed him violently in the back, then ran indoors.’ Wild gorillas do not normally walk on tiptoe. [6 ] But looking at the many cases of deliberate deception in apes, it is impossible to explain them all as simple imitation.


Taking all the evidence into account, it seems that deception does play an important part in ape societies where there are complex social rules and relationships and where problems are better solved by social pressure than by physical conflict. [7 ] Studying the intelligence of our closest relatives could be the way to understand the development of human intelligence.


A.This use of a third individual to achieve a goal is only one of the many tricks commonly used by apes.

B.When she looked and found nothing, she 'walked back, hit me over the head with her hand and ignored me for the rest of the day'.

C.The ability of animals to deceive and cheat may be a better measure of their intelligence than their use of tools.

D.So the psychologists talked to colleagues who studied apes and asked them if they had noticed this kind of deception.

E.The psychologists who saw the incident are sure that he intended to get the potato.

F.But Anna and Paul are not humans.

G.Of course it's possible that it could have learnt from humans that such behaviour works, without understanding why.

  1. Such behaviour, developed over hundreds of thousands of years, is instinctive and completely natural.

PART 3 - You are going to read a magazine article about various local campaigns. For Questions 1-15, choose from the people (A-D). The people may be chosen more than once. Mark your answers on the separate answer sheet ¹1.


Which person  
1. completely panicked when the incident happened?  
2. tried to focus on staying awake during the incident?  
3. fainted during the incident?  
4. describes being in pain all over afterwards?  
5. is aware of the potential psychological consequences of the incident?  
6. was thrown up into the air during the incident?  
7. feels he has changed for the better after what he went through?  
8. helped to save his own life by crying?  
9. had multiple injuries as a result of the incident?  
10. had a long wait before he was rescued?  
11. experienced deafness during the incident?  
12. felt cold for a long time after the incident?  
13. found it difficult to relate to his rescuers?  
14. experienced big variations in body temperature during the incident?  
15. realizes that a part of his brain has been affected as a result of what happened?  


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 3301

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