Earthquakes-10 interesting ancient myths related to an earthquake

April 16, 2016

Do you know these 10 interesting ancient myths related to an earthquake?

When people are faced with something unknown, they try to associate it with something that they can easily relate to. In the same way, when they could not fathom the real reason behind earthquakes; here is what they said and believed.

1. The Terrible Fenris Wolf

According to the Norse mythology, this fierce wolf was destined to bring the world to an end. To prevent this, the gods trick it somehow into wearing a magic chain made from roots of the mountains, the sound of a cat’s footsteps, the breath of fishes, tendons of birds, the spittle of birds and a woman’s beard. Furious at being tied up, his roars shook the mountains, ripping open deep fractures in the Earth.

fenrir wolf

2. Namazu – The Large and Twitchy Catfish

In ancient Japan, it was believed that Kashima, the demigod; in order to keep Namazu from causing devastation on Earth with its lashing tail, had to squish its head with a giant rock. Every now and then when Kashima needed a break, he would allow the rock to roll over and the earth would quake.


3. Poseidon’s Wrath

The Greeks believed that when their wrong doings angered the gods, they were destined to suffer the wrath of the Gods. Poseidon – The Greek god of Sea, Earthquakes and Horses would cause the Earth to shake by driving in his three-pronged trident into the surface of the earth.


4. Just a way of taking headcount

The Maimas of Peru also blamed god for earthquakes. When god would walk the earth, to take the census of his true believers, the earth would shiver under his feet. The people would run out from their houses screaming their presence and making god’s job easier.

Just a way to take headcount

5. The Noble Tortoise

The Algonquin mythology propagated the theory that Earth was supported on the shell of a noble tortoise. An earthquake would be felt whenever the tortoise shifted to a more comfortable position.


6. Siberian Sled Dogs

Russians believed that a god named Tuli, drove an Earth-laden sled, pulled by dogs. When the dogs stopped to scratch at fleas, the earth shook.

7. Mongolian Frog

The ancient Chinese believed that the world was carried by a gigantic frog on its back. Its periodic twitching caused the slight quakes.


8. Eight Mighty Elephants

The Indians had it that eight mighty elephants held up the land. When one of them grew old and feeble, it lowered its head and shook it, causing an earthquake.

animated-elephant-image-03419. Aristotle’s Theory

His explanation is the closest to the modern theory about earthquakes. He believed that wind currents within the surface of the Earth were the cause of earthquakes.


10. Yamraaj

Yes! This is the latest explanation that I heard lastĀ evening. When the Earth beneath our feet jittered on 13th April 2016, an old lady blamed the mankind. She said, “We are so full of sins, that Yamraaj (The god of death), has decided to relief the earth from its evil-doers. Since he cannot carry so many on one of his shoulder, he is shifting the load to his other shoulder. The shifting has caused the earthquake.



-By Pallavi Banik