I am a country boy who grew up in the Valley of the Moon, in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco. My family moved to Glen Ellen in 1937, adding four to the population of 250. My Dad was a rock-hound, so I came naturally by my interests in geology, taking my first course in the subject at Santa Rosa Junior college, where I received my AA degree in 1950. I finished my upper division classes at U.C., Berkeley, receiving my BA in Geology in 1958. I went directly to work for six years with the U.S Geological Survey, involving laboratory and field-work throughout the western United States, including Alaska. Simultaneously, I worked on my Masters degree in Geology at San Jose State University, completing my course work in 1964. That same year I accepted a position as an Engineering Geologist with the U.S. Bureau or Reclamation, based in Sacramento. For the next five years I worked on engineering projects involving the storage and moving of water at a number of dam sites, tunnels and canals in California and Oregon.
After more than ten years with the Department of Interior, I resigned my position in order to work on my Doctorate at the University of California at Davis between 1969-1972. This was an exciting time to share in the new revolution in Earth Sciences, as the theory of Plate Tectonics fleshed out the discredited concepts of Continental Drift. At the same time I participated in a domestic revolution wherein I became a house husband, while my wife, Jan, provided our sole income as she continued her career in teaching. It was rewarding to share the hands on raising of our daughter, Krista and later, our son Jay.
I passed my PhD orals, but did not complete my dissertation within the required seven years, which is one of my few regrets. However, I have published more than 50 scientific papers, many of which utilized my PhD studies, including a paper delivered at the International Geological Congress at Montreal in 1972. This was at the outset of my 1972-73 academic year as an Assistant Professor of Geology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where I shared in the discovery of evidence for Pleistocene glaciation in the Southern Appalachians Following a productive year at Appalachian State University, I returned to California to become the first County Geologist for the most populous county in northern California, Santa Clara County. I held that position from 1973 until my retirement in 1994. Besides helping to establish geologic ordinances widely held as models in the field, I served on many committees and advisory boards. I also held a position for two years as an adjunct professor at San Jose State University.
It was during this period that I noted that many earthquakes occurred at the time of maximum tidal forces associated with the twice-monthly alignments of the Sun and Moon. I began to make informal predictions, scoring six out of eight during 1974, including the 5.2M Thanksgiving Day Quake of November 27th. This one hit the day after I had predicted it at a meeting of U.S.G.S. geologists and it shook my daughter and me while we were attending the first run of the movie, EARTHQUAKE, although we had originally thought it was part of the special effects.
Despite my successes in earthquake prediction (using tides and abnormal animal behavior), I found it almost impossible to publish on the subject in scientific journals. My career began to suffer although my credentials included fellowship in the Geological Society of America and membership in the Association of Engineering Geologists, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi Science Honor Society, Peninsula Geological Society, Seismological Society of America, and others.
I have been recognized in about eight Who s Who? Publications, including the prestigious Who s Who in America and Who s Who in Frontier Science and Engineering. Also I received distinguished member awards from the Santa Clara County Engineers and Architects Association and the SABER Society at San Jose State University.
Perhaps the greatest simultaneous success and blot upon my career followed my naming and predicting in the Gilroy Dispatch a major World Series Earthquake four days before it happened. Erroneous suppositions about panicking the public caused the County to suspend me for 2 = months, and I was allowed to resume my career only after promising not to predict any more quakes on County time. Following that edict, I began to publish my predictions in my new publication, SYZYGY An Earthquake Newsletter, which has now completed eight successful years, with an international readership.
Also since 1990, with entrepreneur, Ryan Wood, I have also maintained Quakeline, a 900-line telephone information service that was originally nationwide, but now is restricted to the San Francisco Bay Area. My predictions have continued to score better than 75%, or three times the chance expectation of less than 25%.
Since mid-1997 I have developed an Internet Website (syzygyjob.com) with innovative Sitemaster, Will Fletcher. The site has been very popular, and often receives more than 200 hits per day, and more than 100 hits per hour following my five-hour interview on the Art Bell radio show. I have also appeared on Frontline, Sightings, Strange Universe, Northwest Afternoon, Town Meeting, Bill Cosby Show, The Other Side, Two at Noon, Evening Matinee, Jeff Rense show, George Putnam Show, Mitch Battros Show, Laura Lee Show, and many other broadcasts. In 1991 I was featured in the Farmer s Almanac, and my annual predictions are now published in the Dot Tide Tables.
Mainstream scientists generally try to debunk various aspects of my earthquake predictions or to ridicule me personally, with epithets such as crackpot or clown. My response is to question their own records in earthquake prediction, and to point out that the main action of a stream is not near the center, but closer to the edge. Near the fringes, with eddies and cross-currents, erosion and deposition are more effective, sometimes leading to changes in the course of the stream. Conformity does not lead to invention. Scientific progress is not achieved by majority vote. Following my pilgrimage to Gizeh with John Anthony West, I discovered the meaning of life: To seek your purpose and strive to achieve it. Anything less is a waste of existence. I am fortunate to have found that my purpose is to de-mystify earthquakes for the public so that meaningful preparations take the place of fatalistic attitudes, that often prove fatal.
The experts of High Science state that earthquake prediction is currently a scientific impossibility. I maintain that the topic is too important to leave to the experts and I continue to do the impossible with a better than 75% battering average , which is more than 300% greater than chance.
For more information about Jim Berkland, please visit his website at http://syzygyjob.com.