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'Moon man' correctly predicts another tremor

'Lunar forecaster' Ken Ring warned that an aftershock would hit Christchurch on Sunday, but scientists said that it would not.

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A man, who claims to have predicted the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, has correctly predicted another tremor.

'Lunar forecaster' Ken Ring warned that an aftershock would hit Christchurch on Sunday, but scientists said that it would not.

However, they were left shocked when the city was indeed shaken by the biggest aftershock since the February catastrophe, which killed more than 182 people.

Ring, a fishing commentator, has become a source of heated debate in New Zealand in recent weeks due to his earthquake predictions, which are based on the belief that quakes are caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon on tectonic plates.

Seismologists have dismissed the theory, but it has gained a following in the country as word has spread that Ring, nicknamed "Moon Man", appeared to have correctly predicted a quake in September and the disaster last month.

When Ring warned that on the morning of March 20, as the moon passed close to the Earth, another quake would strike some Christchurch residents believed him and decided to get out of town. But Ring was pilloried by sections of the media, politicians, and the scientific world.

Then on Sunday to prove their point a group of geologists, engineers, and a cabinet minister with a PhD in geotechnical engineering held a lunch in one of Christchurch's oldest, tallest buildings, at the time the "7 plus" doomsday quake was supposed to strike.

Lunch was unaffected by any tremors but at 9.47pm the city was shaken by a 5.1 magnitude aftershock. Although it was less powerful than Ring had prophesied it to be and came 10 hours late, it was the biggest aftershock since February's disaster, leading some to claim that "Moon man" had been vindicated.

Scientists, however, have continued to dismiss Ring, who has gone to ground because of the media attention.

"Vague quotes about dates of 'increased' activity plus or minus several days, without magnitudes, locations, and exact times do not constitute prediction," The Telegraph quoted Mark Quigley, a lecturer in active tectonics and geomorphology, as saying.

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