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New Zealanders Terrified By Second Earthquake Prediction

 AUKLAND, New Zealand (Herald Sun/AAP) ~ A New Zealand mathematician who predicted the deadly February earthquake, epicentered near Christchurch, has terrified Kiwis with a second earthquake prediction.

 Popular long-range weather forecaster Ken Ring is warning that a second earthquake will hit the devastated South Island city on March 20th. Ring uses the sun, moon and tidal data as the basis of his theories, which have been dismissed by scientists. But Ring's warning is clear, "If I lived in Christchurch, I'd get out for a few days over that time, go camping, visit friends, just get out and keep safe," he said. "And if you don't live there, stay away."

 His dire prediction has frightened local residents, with hundreds of people using Facebook and Twitter to brand him as a "crackpot', "wacky" and to declare his methods scientifically baseless. On Valentine's Day of this year, he posted a Twitter message stating the conditions were "potent" for an earthquake in Christchurch between February 15th and 25th; a 6.3 magnitude quake hit on the 22nd, killing 240 people. Ring has also cautioned people to look for "special signs" such as silent birds or scared pets, and to "stay away from old cracked buildings". 

A truck remains embedded in liquefacted ground after the February earthquake struck Christchurch- photo: AAP

 His words have sparked strong debate from the public, like current affairs host John Campbell, who believe Ring's frightening words prey on those struggling to recover from the disaster. Campbell had Ring on his television show and barraged him with tough questions, with no chance to answer. This prompted many viewers to rise in defense on the so-called "Moon Man". The host was forced to apologize but still held fast that he didn't believe in Ring's theories. "But many people I've spoken to do - and Mr Ring's predictions terrify them," the broadcaster said, before begging him to stop scaring people.

 Scientists also remain unconvinced; Dr Mark Quigley, senior lecturer in active tectonics and geomorphology at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, said Mr Ring's assertions were "ludicrous". "Vague quotes about dates of 'increased' activity plus or minus several days, without magnitudes, locations, and exact times do not constitute prediction," he said, "this is opportunistic and meaningless self promotion during a time of national crisis. I won't be going anywhere in late March."

Header photo: Marty Melville/AFP

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