After the earthquake: why the brain gives phantom quakes

By: Daniel Glaser | After the earthquake: why the brain gives phantom quakes | Neuroscience | The Guardian

Some people caught up in the earthquakes in Italy will experience aftershocks that are all in the mind, says Daniel Glaser

Earthquakes in Italy have devastated ancient towns and left thousands in temporary accommodation. Luckily no deaths were reported after the country’s strongest quake in decades struck last Sunday, but the psychological effects for those who were there could continue for some time.

Aside from aftershocks, anyone caught up in the disaster may also experience the uncanny sensation of ‘phantom quakes’, where it feels as if the earth is shaking when in fact it is perfectly still. This happens for the same reason as ‘sea legs’ – the swaying feeling you sometimes get when you walk on dry land after time on a boat.

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